Source: Vanuatu Daily Post


Five students from Vanuatu will be participating in the First Global Robotic Challenge in Geneva, Switzerland.

For the first time ever, two male students will be joining the ‘SMART Sistas’ team for a robotics challenge.

The five to participate in this program are from different schools in Port Vila and one from Emalus, University of the South Pacific.

Rhenysha Timothy from the Port Vila International, Yonce Sulita Matou from Central, Cladis Tari from Malapoa College, Darren Frederick Lango from Monmartre and Lee-Ran Molivurae from USP.

Chairman of the SMART Sistas committee, Rodney Philemon, said that the overall budget that his team has set for the travelling is around VT2 million.

“With the help of guardians and parents, fundraising initiatives have started,” he said.

“The SMART SISTAs committee had been looking for sponsors, and so far seven business houses have responded. These include GoFundMe, VSolution, DHL, Classic Printers, VNPF, TRBR, and Vodafone Vanuatu.”

In 2017 Vanuatu was ranked 163rd out of 163 countries, 2018 130th out of 183, and 2019 153rd out of 190 countries.

Mr. Philemon mentioned the students in the program are doing much more than competing in a robotic game.

“They are learning that these challenges will only be overcome when people realize that we are all in the same team,” he said.

“With technology, they can accomplish things they can only imagine by communicating, cooperating, and working together to apply technology as a tool for positive change in the world.”

The FIRST Global Challenge theme for 2022 is “Carbon Capture”. This year’s theme challenges First Global teams to reimagine the futures of earth’s climate.

The idea behind the team ‘Carbon Capture’ is the process of capturing existing carbon dioxide and preventing it from entering the atmosphere.

Mr. Philemon said that Vanuatu can benefit from innovations and using technology to combat issues such has climate change impacts.

“In Vanuatu they only do prototypes for Robots, and the experience they have so far are mostly with FIRST Global Challenge and Lego Robot Programs,” he shared.

He said that they have allowed boys to be part of the competition and they have been allowing those living with a disability to join already, but they haven’t received an application from one just yet.

Vanuatu started participating in the Robotic Challenge since 2017, which was held at the Washington DC, 2018 in Mexico, and in 2019 in Dubai.

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021, the students participated virtually for the past two years.

Mr. Philemon said preparations are underway and the students will be flying to Europe this Sunday.