• August 1, 2017

A rapidly expanding ICT sector will create many career opportunities for Burma (Myanmar) youth. USAID is helping them gain enthusiasm for the sector through hands-on experience. This includes designing, programming, and building robots, then matching skills with those of peers from around the world.

Assisted by a USAID grant, a team of seven students from Burma recently took part in the FIRST Global Robotics Challenge, a 3-day competition held July 16-18 in Washington, DC. The team qualified by creating a robot that could maneuver to collect and sort balls by color.

But the games, an ICT Olympics, required more than technical savvy and innovation. The team had to demonstrate its ability and willingness to communicate, cooperate, and work together to apply technology as a tool for positive change in the world. For this latter challenge, “alliances” of three randomly selected country teams were required to cooperate as global societies to solve a water crisis by transforming a polluted river into a clean water source.

Team Burma placed 6th out of 163 teams in the overall competition.

The grant was issued through the USAID Private Sector Development Activity (PSDA), a project administered by Nathan Associates. PSDA awards the small grants to nongovernmental organizations and associations to build capacity and to stimulate inclusive policy dialogue. Since its inception in 2015, the project has awarded 19 grants to Burma organizations.

David Madden, founder of Phandeeyar: Myanmar Innovation Lab, tweets congratulations to the Burma (Myanmar) robotics team:

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