Game Based Learning Apps Win in Youth Competition
The culture of food safety in Senegal leaped forward recently with the announcement of the winners of the youth competition on “Smart Food Safety.” The competition solicited innovation smart phone applications to assist small business owners to adopt safer food handling practices. “Samba the Fisherman from Soumbédioune” took first place at $10,000 and second and third-place winners claimed $5,000 and $3,000 respectively.
In April 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Feed the Future Business Drivers for Food Safety (BD4FS) launched the Youth Food Safety Application Competition. The competition sought out young software developers to develop innovating learning approaches about food safety, especially among young entrepreneurs. BD4FS, implemented by Food Enterprise Solutions (FES), and its partner Feed the Future Youth in Agriculture (YiA), implemented by Virginia Tech University, worked with technical judges chosen from among Senegal’s finest professionals in the field. A total of 14 young developers entered the competition, from which 10 finalists were invited to pitch their concepts to the panelists.
Three concepts out of the ten emerged as finalists which included: 1. Samba the Fisherman from Soumbédioune presented by Angelo Dafia, founder of Korapps, a software engineering business; 2. the SSA Quiz (Food Safety Quiz) presented by Cheikh Omar Kane and Racine Ofens Seck, freelance developers; and finally, 3. NA RESS AK JAM presented by Mamadou Jean Baptiste Niassy and Cedric Adougba of Hatice Technology. The top two winners received six months of technical and marketing support by Volkeno, an IT firm hired by YiA. BD4FS food safety experts provided technical advice on food safety.
The winners and all competitors were celebrated during the awards ceremony that took place on Saturday August 20, 2022, supported by crowd of aspiring young entrepreneurs and students at the Douta Seck Cultural Center. The event provided an opportunity for these enterprising developers to test their marketing skills acquired with their mentors from BD4FS and YiA.
The Winners’ Models
SSA QUIZ is a basic and in-depth general knowledge enhancement on the handling, storage and cooking of food but also touches on questions on the prevention of foodborne diseases, hygiene standards, personal hygiene among several good food safety practices. All segments are illustrated with photos and videos on the best ways to conduct food safety practices.
The ‘Smart Food Safety” app competition enhanced the entrepreneurial spirit among young developers to create commercially viable food safety learning experiences. Angelo Dafia, winner of the first prize noted, “Working on this project was a very rewarding experience for me. First of all, it was a professional challenge. Rare indeed are 100% African video games, and one might believe (wrongly) that we are not able to make them. This project allowed me to take up this technical challenge, and to dream bigger. I noticed the same effect around me where the fact that when a video game is developed here it makes many people happy. This translates into a little over a hundred cumulative downloads, without having yet launched our communication plan. The results are positive at the level of Korapps too which was able, via this project, to recruit and work with new people on themes that affect our continent. The prize gives us certain impetus to continue to change the lives of our fellow citizens through digital transformation. We feel that we have helped to open our eyes to food safety issues, and we hope to do even more in the future”.
BD4FS continues to support the app developers to achieve their objectives, namely, to raise awareness of food losses in the artisanal fishing sector by users of the Samba the Fisherman application and to train staff of agri-food companies on food safety practices by the SSA QUIZ. Both companies’ goals are to have at least 500 downloads each.