MEST EITs win MTN Apps Challenge in Ghana!

Guest Contributor, Wednesday July 4th 2018

This post was written by Heather Mavunga, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur in training in the MEST class of 2018.

MEST EIT’s Ehiaghe Aigimawu and Elohor Thomas were announced as the 2018 winners of the Education Category of the MTN Ghana Apps Challenge. They are the first all-female team to win at the MTN Ghana Apps Challenge and the third set of winners from MEST.

The previous MEST winners are AF Radio CEO Bubunyor Nyavor and BuildPals CTO Peter O’Hara Adu. Ehiaghe and Elohor’s project Memoria is an artificial intelligence learning assistant that helps young children learn by using a gamified quiz. It is built on Google Home Assistant and can be accessed by anyone who has a Google app on their phone.

With close to a hundred users from across the world already, Memoria beat thousands of other hopeful developers due to its intuitive ease of use!

[caption id="attachment_7089" align="aligncenter" width="665"]Ehi and Elonor at the MTN Apps Challenge with TransGov cofounder. Ehi and Elonor at the MTN Apps Challenge with TransGov cofounder.[/caption]

The road to tech

For Elohor, edtech was a natural pathway. She grew up teaching. In her own words, “teaching has always been part of my life.” Today she is a mentor and facilitator helping aspiring developers learn one of her favorite languages, Python.

Elohor credits her training in university for giving her a strong background in tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Mathematics from Delta State University as well as a Masters in Systems Engineering with a major in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Lagos - the only institution that offers a Masters in AI in the whole of West Africa.

Ehiaghe has a Bachelors in Computer Science from Ambrose Alli University in Edo state, Nigeria. She has a strong and active background in teaching and mentoring young software developers as co-founder of Codulab in Nigeria. She equipped over eighty undergraduates with tech skills to become contributors and better problem solvers before coming to MEST as an EIT. She is currently a technical writer at Towards Data Science and where she shares knowledge on building models that can extract actionable insights from data to help businesses and organizations make informed and intelligent business decisions.

How Memoria was born

Memoria came about from Historia, a project that Ehiaghe and Elohor worked on together to teach kids about the history of their country. After ideating for a few more hours, they decided the tech would be a learning assistant. So for 36 hours they coded nonstop and built the technology using Google’s Home Assistant, which is built on Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. With the idea of making learning fun for kids, they decided to focus on helping kids memorize their academic subjects because today kids are more interested in games and playing. Memoria was the result.

Thanks to Google’s initiative under Sundar Pichai to encourage developers in Africa to build products,, the team has already won Google Home Assistance and Google Cloud credit for an entire year. .

One of the benefits of Memoria is that anyone who has a Google app can use it; it is not limited to either IOS or Android applications. By building on top of Google’s technology they have managed to access the whole world instead of specifying the audience. Memoria is currently available for voice and text. The plan is to eventually move to graphics and video one day so as to enable interactive learning for children.

What Memoria can do

The advantage of Memoria is that students, when given an assignment, can simply say “Hey Google, talk to Memorize it,” and it starts working. The next step is to to pick the subject of study. The team chose to start with information technology so that they could teach children the basics.

The AI assistant then asks the child a question, and if they answer well it will applaud them. If a student fails, then it encourages him or her to keep redoing the question until they get it right.

It is encouraging, calm, and gives the child room to keep relearning without feeling like they are failing. This is a game changer for children because it integrates education and digital without a child feeling like they are studying. Kids are inquisitive and mostly drawn to cell phones; therefore, this makes it easy to craft a child’s learning and make it more fun.

The platform is also especially useful for children that are blind or suffer from autism. This is a key differentiator that separates them from other educational apps that are in the market. It also helps to increase the memorization rates by rewarding academic efforts.

For Memoria, the best validation was to hear how kids react to their MVP. In Ehi’s words, what is important to them is being able to build tech that can be used by anyone all over the world. Google’s Home Assistant is the perfect platform for this.

Interested in learning what more MEST alumnae are doing to promote tech? Check out this article about STEMBees, a nonprofit that is teaching girls to code!