Truth be told, I had never heard of Netexplo until the day they @ us on Twitter. Very casually, asking for a follow do that we can DM. For me it was odd. Any “big” company would have sought other more “formal” ways of reaching out to the team. But as fate would have it. Twitter. Fingers crossed, I waited for the 25th February to know whether or not we had been selected as one of the top ten innovations before I could even tell the team of the opportunity. We made it. Unbelievable.
On the 15th April, purity and I get our passports stamped at border control, JKIA, ready for Paris. We were excited about the trip for two reasons. One, we were going to pitch our idea at an elevating stage and two, we were going to see our friends from Clit Révolution.
Fast forward, 17th April, the day that totally changed how I see the world.It started with getting lost even after checking google Maps 33 times :). Things Paris did to me. Hehehe.
The world is not sleeping guys. FYI. There were nine other amazing and propelling inventions. All revolving around technology (obviously) artificial intelligence, machine learning and impact in the community. Here is a brief highlight of all the award winning innovations.
Furhat- Robotic human faces
Factmata — an algorithm to check the genuineness of information news
Tcav- an improved AI algorithm to assist AI understand its surroundings
Spatial- a high definition virtual conferencing technology.
Soundshirt- a shirt to help the hearing impaired feel instrumental music.
Biohybrid robot- a combination of animal muscle tissue in robots that actually move small objects.
iCut — an application to connect girls facing the risk of being mutilated get assistance from relevant authorities.
D-Id- A way of “cheating” facial recognition by making small tweaks to photos.
Rainbow — an application that incorporates Chat bots to give assistance to GBV victims.
Ai biodiversity monitor- Monitoring endangered species by use of AI
***My sincere apologies to the creators if I haven’t explain your works best. Also feel free to point out an error in my explanations of the above projects ,I’m glad to edit***
Being at the UNESCO stage was both exciting and challenging. Exciting because I was speaking about my activism and challenging because it is UNESCO. Most of the time people imagine that I have it all figured out but that is never usually the case. In San Francisco, at the google stage, we were all teen girls who had just started out, but in Paris, it was different. I was sharing a stage with people who are “ established” i.e specialists.
There is a lot that I didn't expect while on that stage. One of them being brain freeze. The only thing I was thinking was ‘these are a lot of people’ and I got distracted. Good thing I had Purity :).
After all the award winners and keynote speakers were done, the audience voted for the grand prix winner. All the award winners had a tenth chance of winning. I don’t know why I never thought we could actually win. For me, all the other projects were the “it”. I was actually rooting for soundshirt and Spatial. So purity and I were chilling in the speakers room taking bomb pictures just happy that we had been given a platform to talk about our work and see other projects. Frankly, the world is not sleeping. With us in the speakers’ room was Jacob aka “Good shoes” who was believing we would be named winners of grand Prix. Yes, I had to mention him because he is an embodiment of people who believe in you when you don’t actually believe in yourself.
From the above paragraph, you should have noticed we won the award. If you didn’t, here I am putting it out, we did win the award. It was the last thing I thought when walking towards the auditorium. Then the walk turned into a run. Only for me to get to the stage before Purity and feel scared again. More like shy. Or maybe too much happiness.
I have looked at other potential prix winners for this year and I can never put to words how honored I am as a person to have a project that I am working on get such type of recognition. This should be an encouragement to us all that all our works matter no matter how small or insignificant other people think it is. This time round it was us, next it is you. Keep pushing on.
As I conclude, I would love tho thank everyone who made it possible for Purity, the team and I to get to where we are. Netexplo/UNESCO for having the program, my active mentors and all the activists.
This is all about just the 17th April. A blog for the other days I was in Paris will be out soon.