Alumnus part of winning Codeathon team at the Clinton Global Initiative

November 4, 2018
Launched by former US President Bill Clinton in 2007, the 2018 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) marked the 11th annual convening of students and industry experts. The event, which was held at the University of Chicago, saw six Ashesi students along with over 1,000 other participants from all over the world coming together to develop practical action plans for pressing global issues.

Each year, as part of the CGI U convening, selected participants are invited to engage in a Codeathon challenge, during which developers and designers are challenged to build unique digital prototypes inspired by CGI U Commitments to Action.

For this year’s challenge, Constant Likudie ’18 with five other students from Swarthmore College, Northwestern University, University of Georgia, University of Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, formed the winning team. Working together, the team built a product that coordinates relief efforts for victims of storm and flood-related disasters. Leveraging crowdsourcing, artificial intelligence, and social networks, the prototype improves the accuracy and efficiency of response and recovery efforts to victims following natural disaster occurrences.

“Our solution was designed for Southeast Asia because the region is 25 times more likely to be impacted by natural disasters than other areas in the world,” shared Constant. “However, it is highly scalable and suitable for all sorts of disasters in any region of the world. We also created the platform to be easily accessible on already existing social media like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for ease of access and use.”

Through on-campus Entrepreneurship Business fairs, the Ashesi Design lab’s hackathons and access to international opportunities, students build their network, learn to work together and leverage their skills and contacts to make their ideas a reality. Having already participated in hackathons back on campus as a student, Constant is familiar with working under pressure. However, for him, the diversity of his team members at CGI made a notable impact on the quality of the project outcome.

“Although we all came from different backgrounds, we bonded so easily,” he shared. “My experience at Ashesi also gave me the composure I needed in an international hackathon. In all, the Codeathon gave me a chance to contribute solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Although we reside in different geographical regions, I look forward to implementing the project with my teammates in the future.”

In addition to the Codeathon, the Ashesi delegation also participated in other programs within CGI U. For Abdul-Ghaffar Adam ’19, second-time CGI participant and campus representative for Ashesi, the experience was an excellent opportunity to engage actual stakeholders about projects he is working on. As a finalist for the CGI Social Resolution Fellowship, he proposed the use of synthetic biology in gold mining to reduce the release of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

“It was a great learning experience,” he shared. “Pitching to a panel that has expertise in every area of my project provided me with a lot of constructive feedback. I discovered loopholes that I was unaware of and got connected with mentors who are now helping me improve my project.”

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