2020 has been a difficult time for Makers, obstructing their ongoing projects due to closure of maker-spaces and gatherings. Despite these challenges, some Makers adopted digital strategies to keep building solutions to their community problems. Mohammed Yayandi is one of such Makers. He recently won the Build for SDGs Challenge with his solution, WasteCoin.

We reached out to Yayandi – a member of the Vilsquare Makers’ Hub community – to share his experience with making during the COVID-19 pandemic and how collaboration from the hub has enabled the development process.

You participated in the #BuildforSDGsChallenge, what is the challenge about?

#BuildforSDGsChallenge is a Facebook and Andela project to up-skill developers across all countries in Africa, through a six-week immersive program where selected developers will work in agile remote teams to innovate on projects relating to the SDGs.

You won the cohort 1 of the #BuildforSDGsCHallenge, can you tell us what you built and your experience?   

We built WasteCoin (http://ng.wastecoin.co) – a web/mobile platform where users are rewarded with WasteCoins for mining waste (collection, delivery of waste) via a unique wallet identity.

My experience was massive. I learned a lot during the six weeks project including working with a remote team, whose members I had never met physically. Using technology, we collaboratively built a solution that solves the waste management problems in Nigeria and across Africa. 

What inspired your solution?

At first our team was interested in education, then we realized that there are a lot of educational solutions out there. Our Technical Team Lead, suggested we change our focus and look into Waste Management in Nigeria and Africa.

We brainstormed on the project and researched online. We quickly realized that there were few waste management solutions that adopted technology in Nigeria. We identified the problem to connect to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11; designed a solution architecture; and started building the application.

You were a participant at the National Hackathon Series of 2018. How did that experience influence this win and your solution?

The National Hackathon Series edition that I attended was an eye opener for me. I learned a lot on how to collaborate and solve real life problems using technology. The Vilsquare Makers’ Hub community was a foundation for my tech skills and career. It was an early experience to learn how to collaborate in a team of varying capabilities. The rigor of the Hackathon in 2018 built my resilience for facing challenges from developing solutions in tough situations; like building WasteCoin during a global pandemic. 

You were just appointed as a mentor at Savvy Fellowship, how does that impact your community and espouse the learnings from the Vilsquare Makers’ Hub?

Mentoring at Savvy Fellowship is a way of giving back to my community with the experience and knowledge I have gained from participating in several Technology and Business competitions; virtual and physical programs. I’m very passionate about building tech related communities that support young people. The same way initiatives like the Vilsquare Makers’ Hub have empowered me, I believe new initiatives like such will positively impact my community.

How is the Vilsquare Makers’ Hub community supporting you with advancing your career?

Like I said earlier, Vilsquare Makers’ Hub community is an eye opener for me. After I attended the National Hackathon Series and joined the community, I accessed a lot of career  growth opportunities. Seeing projects of other community members motivated and inspired my career growth. During this COVID-19 period, the community has been a great resource to stay updated and find the right person to collaborate with.

I want to say a big thank you to Vilsquare Makers’ Hub for organizing programmes and projects that engage community members. These experiences are changing our lives positively.

Download WasteCoin on Playstore link.

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