April 8, 2013
A group calling itself Tandabala has won this year’s Imagine Cup 2013, which is the world’s premier student technology competition. The competition was held at Microsoft Innovation Centre in Gaborone.The winners walked away with a computer and Nokia windows phones. They will represent Botswana at the Image Cup world finals in St. Petersburg, Russia in July this year.The competition has three categories – games, innovation and world citizenship. This year contestants were required to enter one of three competitions. The competition was open to students from any tertiary institution.
The competition gives participants the chance to break new ground, solve tough problems facing the world today, and even turn ideas into a business. According to the manager of Microsoft Innovation Centre, Patel Barwabatsile, the competition is held every year and it is the first time in Botswana. He said about 20 groups registered online but only three managed to show their projects while others failed. The Tandabala team consists of Kabelo Bolaane, Mpho Ben Motsamai and Givemore Mvumba – Botho College software engineering students who are designing and developing a friendly pension payment system called “Tandabala”.The scheme focuses on social security payment for old age pensioners from age 65, World War veterans and destitute. Old age pension fund is a social initiative by the government of Botswana to meet the social, economic and physiological needs of old people, old war veteran and destitute.There are around 30 000 old age pensioners registered who are benefiting from Tandabala and the number is increasing yearly. Pensioners need this money to be able to support themselves and families.
The Tandabala team started their project in 2011 for the Links competition which was hosted by Botho College which they also won. They said they chose this project because they have realised that old people are abandoned. They are trying to develop a system which will make it easier for them to access their funds.They said the system is going to be centralised in such a way that beneficiaries can be able to get money where ever they are. In developing their project, they said they faced several challenges including lack of resources and capital.“We suffered from the beginning, there was no place to work from, we used a garage as a working place,” said Kabelo Bolaane.