Microsoft Africa Development Center (ADC) Hosts Universities for Hackathon, Unleashing Digital Solutions that Advance Universal Health Coverage

Population Services International (PSI) and AMREF Health Africa join Microsoft in launching “The Game of Learners,” the fourth in ADC’s hackathon series for African students. 

NAIROBI, Kenya – March 13, 2023… Microsoft ADC announces the launch of its fourth season of “Game of Learners” (GOL) convening African university students, aspiring software engineers and solution builders to get digital in devising solutions to global health challenges.  

The aim: Tap into top minds to yield breakthrough solutions while building the skills and prowess of future global digital health practitioners.  

“Game of Learners, now in its fourth year, is designed to provide a fun, hands-on learning experience while creating a virtual environment that transcends borders to allow young minds to collaborate and drive the advancement of Africa into a global innovation hub… all using Microsoft technology,” said Ruth Ferland, Senior Program Manager at ADC and the founder of the Game of Learners Program. “Having gender-balanced teams further ties into our mission of promoting diversity and inclusion within the tech industry.” 

Participants will select the health area they focus on, from how to strengthen how providers deliver quality services to how people can overcome barriers to access reliable information at their fingertips. For the first time, GOL will partner with global health NGO Population Services International (PSI) and AMREF Health Africa. 

“We’ve seen the power of young people to revolutionize healthcare’s future. This partnership with Microsoft brings these voices to the big stage, ” said Martin Dale, Population Services International’s (PSI) Global Director of Digital Health. “GOL is part of a larger initiative to increase the talent pool of individuals working in digital health across Africa, There’s so much talent graduating from our universities and GOL is a great opportunity for students to dig in and create solutions that make healthcare more accessible to all – across Africa and around the world.” 

The program runs as a 5-week hackathon with teams captained by Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors crafting the innovations while receiving technical training from Microsoft, PSI and AMREF Health Africa’s 32 coaches and 20+ advisors. 

At the end of the season, the winning team will be eligible for awards, including collaboration with GOL Season 4 partners to advance their solution and entry into the Microsoft Imagine Cup, where they will present their innovation on a global stage. 

“As a continent that has historically had serious healthcare challenges, we need the kind of ideas that can only come from the youth to revitalise healthcare service provision. There are myriad opportunities ranging from health informatics and telemedicine to big data analysis and system security for the learners to explore,” said Samuel Weru, AMREF Health Africa Group Information Communication and Technology Director. “We are eager to work with the teams to create solutions that have the potential to change Africa and the world.” 

In total, season 4 will have 16 teams, each made up of 4 learners, 2 men and 2 women, drawn from 11 sub-Saharan countries.  

Designed like a sports league, each 5-week season of Game of Learners is followed by a month-long season of GOL Clinic and GOL exhibitions to accord individuals seeking deeper hands-on technical experience and specialised training from Microsoft and GOL partners. 

About Microsoft 

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 

About the ADC 

Microsoft launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC) in 2019 with an initial site within Microsoft offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre’s goal is to attract world-class African engineering talent to create innovative solutions spanning the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has grown to over 500 full-time employees working in areas such as software engineering, machine learning, data science, market research, infrastructure, and much more. 

About PSI 

Population Services International (PSI) is a global non-profit organization focused on encouraging healthy behaviors and delivering affordable health products and services around the world. PSI takes a business approach to saving lives, designing effective, sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges in healthcare. 

About AMREF 

Amref Health Africa was founded in 1957 as the Flying Doctors of East Africa, providing critical health care to remote communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The organisation has since grown to become the largest African-based international health development organisation.


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