Junior Achievement South Africa learners have been competing in the Social Innovation Relay for four years and this is the second time a team from Sandtonview Combined School have walked away with the national title. This year more than 1 000 learners from 10 schools in Gauteng competed between February and June.
The Social Innovation Relay is an annual global competition, funded by HP. During the competition learners participate in an innovation workshop, where they are taught about social innovation, after which in teams of three or four they conceptualise a business that would uplift their immediate communities. This year, more than 2,000 teams from 18 countries, supported by nearly 400 HP volunteers, submitted papers and presented their business concepts. Teams from each country compete at national finals, and these winning teams then compete against each other in the online global finals.
100 ideas were uploaded to the Social Innovation Relay website and the best 20 ideas were selected by Nosipho Malotana, an experienced Junior Achievement South Africa facilitator. During the July school holidays, these teams all gathered at HP South Africa’s head office in Rivonia, Johannesburg, and over three days, each team was required to develop their concepts into comprehensive presentations with the assistance of dedicated HP volunteer mentors, who spent many hours with their teams, ensuring they were ready to participate in the SIR national final. The finals were held at HP’s Johannesburg offices on 3rd July 2014, where the top ten teams were required to present their developed concepts to a panel of esteemed HP judges. Teams from Allanridge, Makgetse, McAuley House and Sandtonview High Schools were represented in these finals. The judges scored the teams on content, innovation and creativity, social impact, and the global scalability and feasibility of the concept.
The winning team, Re(D)y from Sandtonview Combined School, identified the current textbook shortages and low accessibility to technology South African learners face, as a serious problem facing their community and South Africans as a whole. Their solution, the Table Tablet, a large tablet computer installed into a school desk, could be used instead of textbooks. Teachers would be able to upload lessons, homework and study guides to the tablet. Learners would access the table tablets using their LET cards, which would allow learners to access their information from any pc or tablet, meaning that their school work is available anywhere. The main aim of the table tablet is to make information more accessible to the youth.
On 8th July, Team Re(D)y participated in the global finals of the competition, and presented their concept online to a global panel of judges. Team Malre from Kenya walked away as winners for their innovative solution to combat malaria. Team Re(D)y performed well and gained valuable experience in social innovation and presentation skills.