This is part of a series of YouthSpark profiles where we highlight young people in Asia who are dedicated to changing the world through technology, and inspiring others along the way.
BIOA student at De La Salle University, Gianisse Marie Adamantopoulos, also known as ‘Gigi’, combines her passion for music and technology by reaching out to other young, like-minded music enthusiasts in the Philippines. She aspires to introduce young people to the latest software, online materials and social media as an alternate avenue to realise their talents and achieve their musical ambitions. An avid musician, Gigi enjoys creating her own music in her free time.Tell us one exciting thing that you have been working on in the past 3–6 months.
I belong to a school team that recently implemented the Microsoft Student Partners Programme. Over the past few months, we have been playing an active role in encouraging both freshmen and sophomore students at our school to embrace the use of technology to solve common issues that they may face on a daily basis. Besides my involvement with this school-related project, I have been trying my hand at producing sound mixes and musical recordings with the use of a variety of music software.
What are some of the challenges facing youth today that concern you the most?
I find that my generation tends to experience the pressures of life at a much earlier age. Among my peers, there are a lot of young people who are already feeling overwhelmed by practical considerations, such as the need to earn a good living to sustain their needs, and end up conforming to social norms — rather than pursuing their own dreams to create something that is truly new and innovative.
If you had the ability to create one change in the world, what would that be and how can technology help you achieve this change?
I would like to reach out to young people across the world and share with them the message that new technology, such as social media platforms, can help change their lives and shape a better future. Using social media, I want to do my part in spreading the message that technology enables them to continue pursuing their dreams and ambitions, without having to sacrifice their civic duties or personal obligations.
I’m inspired by… those who are willing to persevere against all odds in order to find success in their lives and careers.
Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Nepal organised Tech Mela 2013 on 22-23 March, an event aimed at highlighting the use of information technology (IT) for skills development and fostering innovative capabilities in the country.
More than 3,200 students and IT professionals attended the technology event held at the Nepal Administrative Staff College in Lalitpur District. Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University, officially inaugurated Tech Mela 2013, which comprised conference sessions and workshops focusing on career development in the Asp.Net community event for developers and business professionals, and the WOWzapp Hackathon, in which students competed in the development of Windows 8® apps.
Cliff Reeves, General Manager, Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, participated in a high-level panel discussion, which highlighted the importance of collaboration between industry players and academic institutions to spearhead IT skills development in Nepal.
Reeves said, “Microsoft aims to establish strong partnerships with local government agencies, academic institutions and industry organisations that will fuel the long-term growth of entrepreneurism and the IT industry. While the focus of Tech Mela 2013 is on inspiring a new generation of IT students by providing them with a look into what the future holds, the event also presents an ideal platform to discuss what businesses in Nepal can do to keep pace with the latest technology developments and changing industry requirements.”
During Tech Mela 2013, MIC Nepal showcased the latest Microsoft products and technologies, as well as the wide range of employment opportunities made available to students through Microsoft’s learning campaigns. Participants gained hands-on experience through technology presentations conducted by MIC Nepal that cover the latest Microsoft offerings, including Windows 8, Visual Studio 2012® and SQL Azure™.
Microsoft also invited successful IT professionals such as Karmath Dangol, Vice President of Engineering at CloudFactory.com, to share their personal experience in developing a successful tech venture.
Other highlights of the event included tech blogger Anil Aakar from Aakar Post, who presented on the effective use of social media, and an inspiring presentation from Sagar Prasai, Consultant for Equity and Inclusion at WaterAid Nepal, who shared with the audience how he has been motivated to provide computer training for visually-impaired people despite suffering from a physical disability that has left him wheelchair-bound.
Dr Prasai said, “Besides fostering innovation in Nepal, Tech Mela 2013 also highlighted how access to technology holds the key to broadening the impact of social initiatives across the country. These initiatives and community projects can range from providing underprivileged students with the latest technologies to develop new skills, to extending more dedicated services to enrich the lives of people who are suffering from severe disabilities.”
AppsForAsia is a new initiative created by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Microsoft, and is supported by regional information technology (IT) associations, private sector technology partners and universities. The programme aims to harness the creative power of hundreds of software developers to create sustainable solutions for the economic, commercial and social benefit of governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), citizens and enterprises throughout Asia.
In this post we are pleased to present the winning AppsForAsia entries from the Philippines.
Three Filipino software developer teams stood out from a competitive field in the AppsForAsia national developer event. The three winning applications from the Philippines — Codetoki, Blood Donors Network and Leanasset — will be showcased at the 46th Annual Meeting of the ADB on 2-5 May in New Delhi, India.
High unemployment remains a prominent issue in the Philippines, and many local IT students are faced with a lack of job opportunities that match their professional skills. The Codetoki app aims to make it easier for Filipino youth to secure employment by matching employers with job applicants.
The Codetoki app provides a platform for employers to publicise the key requirements of available job positions, as well as enable students to master the professional skills needed for their desired jobs.
The app can be easily customised to allow each student to build an individual profile based on their relevant skills. Utilising a game concept, students can showcase their professional capabilities through the app and earn ‘badges’ by completing specific skill challenges. The students are then ranked on a leaderboard, which prospective employers can easily access to determine the best fit for their organisation. To view a video demonstration of Codetoki, please click here.
The Blood Donors Network app is designed as a crowd-sourced web and mobile platform to help the Philippine Red Cross, hospitals and medical practitioners in the country maintain a sustainable community of voluntary blood donors.
Created by Joel Barquez, CEO and Co-Founder of Blood Donors Network, the app enables communities to meet their blood donation needs by increasing the acquisition of new blood donors, improving the retention rate of existing donors and establishing a comprehensive data of donors.
In addition, web and mobile apps such as the Blood Donors Network app add a social dimension to encourage blood donation by awarding donors ‘hero badges’ and providing them incentives such as free physical examinations and discounted rates in fitness and health centres.
Developed by independent software vendor Accelerate Desk, Leanasset serves as an app for improving both public transportation access and fleet management to alleviate the limitation of land transport systems across the Philippines.
The first version of the Leanasset app, built on Windows AzureTM cloud technology, can be downloaded by commuters and transport operators to access transportation information. A key feature of this app, which is still presently being developed, is for commuters to electronically ‘flag down’ a nearby vacant taxi, as seen in his or her smartphone app, and the taxi driver can electronically ‘accept’ the service booking. A similar app is being developed for bus commuters.
A second variant of the app enables fleet managers to track vehicle activity through an easily accessible dashboard, plan trips ahead of time and share logistics and fleet activities with customers, enabling fleet managers to focus on more strategic priorities.
Congratulations to these young developer teams from the Philippines!
For more information, please visit the AppsForAsia website.
In this post we are pleased to present the winning AppsForAsia entries from Australia.
The recent AppsForAsia national developer event in Australia provided software developer teams the platform to showcase their expertise and resourcefulness in creating apps that bring both social and economic benefits. The following winning apps from Australia — BlueClover, Idex and X Meaning — are being showcased at the 46th Annual Meeting of the ADB on 2-5 May in New Delhi, India.
An estimated 347 million people around the world have diabetes and are at risk of suffering from other related ailments such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and blindness. The BlueClover app, developed by Trinary Logic, is aimed at improving diabetes management by enabling people affected by the disease in Australia to record and keep track of nutritional information for all food and drinks they consume.
The BlueClover app utilises the latest technologies such as augmented reality to help users easily capture and record food-related information by scanning a barcode with their camera phone.
The data is then securely stored onto Microsoft HealthVaultTM, an online health record database approved for medical use in both the US and UK — enabling the user to freely view, retrieve and share the information with their family and doctors, anywhere with an Internet connection.
Grand Domain developed the Idex app to ease how businesses conduct electronic authentication processes. Currently, organisations have to duplicate their entire user directory so that users can be authenticated and identified according to the services they subscribe to.
A better solution is a proven concept called ‘identity federation’, by which only the user’s home organisation is relied upon for authentication by external organisations (other businesses or service providers) — also meaning the home organisation retains control over the user identities.
The Idex app handles the setup and management of federated identities. With Idex, organisations only have to establish a single federation relationship to deliver services to a broader customer base and better secure user information.
Designed as a tool to make language resources more accessible to students, the X Meaning app serves as an aid for translators to produce a document in the source language and annotate it with translation information.
The X Meaning annotations provide both dictionary-level definitions of words and phrases as well as further elucidation with a contextual meaning, intended to convey the full nuances of the original document. Samples of the annotator output are available on www.xmeaning.com.
Congratulations to these young developer teams from Australia!
As the co-founder and Executive Director of Mano Amiga Academy, 27-year-old Eleanor Rosa Pinugu, known as ‘Lynn’ among family and friends, has set her sights on improving access to high-quality education in the Philippines and empowering children from impoverished communities to transform their lives.
Following her stint as an international youth volunteer in Mexico in 2006 where she was impressed by the spirit of volunteerism embodied by the students she encountered at the Mano Amiga Guanajuato School, Lynn was inspired to set up Mano Amiga Pilipinas in the city of Taguig in 2008.
Nonprofit Mano Amiga Academy is part of a global network of more than 30 Mano Amiga schools that have been established in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and Venezuela.
“I had the privilege to work with many Mexican student volunteers who were themselves former beneficiaries of social programmes, and I believe it is these students’ genuine desire to serve their communities that plays a key role in the development of the learning facilities at the Mano Amiga School,” Lynn said.
The Altius Foundation, which operates the Mano Amiga Schools across Latin America, would later engage Lynn to spearhead the development of the school system in the Philippines and manage fundraising efforts for the establishment of the Mano Amiga Academy. Her efforts in extending education opportunities to economically disadvantaged children were recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which invited her to attend the 2012 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, as one of 70 ‘global shapers’.
As the head of Mano Amiga Academy, Lynn is responsible for evaluating how to make the best use of technology solutions work more efficiently and improve collaboration with community partners. In April 2012, Lynn was invited to participate in the Asia Pacific Innovate4Good@Microsoft summit in Singapore — which further enriched her knowledge and exposure to the transformative power of information technology (IT) to address a social need and make the world a better place.
“Despite being initially apprehensive about not being ‘techie’ enough, the summit really helped in opening up my perspective on the use of innovative technology to address operational challenges. The summit showcased the latest Microsoft technologies and demonstrated how young people can leverage the latest technology platforms to bring about social change,” Lynn said.
The Asia Pacific Innovate4Good@Microsoft summit prompted Lynn to step up the integration of IT technology across the education programmes at Mano Amiga Academy, and adopt relevant products and services that significantly enhance the learning experience for its students across a wide range of enrichment programmes and training seminars.
“Beyond providing access to high-quality education, one of the key initiatives at Mano Amiga Academy is to get more youth volunteers involved as role models for our students. We have noticed how increased interaction with youth volunteers has helped in improving our students’ social skills — instilling in them the confidence to make the most of the learning opportunities, transforming their lives,” said Lynn.
YouthSpark is a Microsoft companywide initiative designed to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries during the next three years. Through partnerships with governments, nonprofits and businesses, Microsoft aims to empower youth to imagine and realise their full potential by connecting them with greater education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. We want to empower youth to change their world.
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