Augustana students win global humanitarian tech challenge

Augustana University students have been named the winners of the 2022 Call for Code Global...
Augustana University students have been named the winners of the 2022 Call for Code Global Challenge.(Augustana University)
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:52 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Four Augustana University students were named the grand prize winners of the 2022 Call for Code Global Challenge on Tuesday at a ceremony in New York.

The Call for Code Global Challenge asks teams to “leverage open innovation and develop technology solutions that address specific global sustainability problems in unique, clearly demonstrable ways.”

Abemelech Mesfin Belachew ‘24, of Ethiopia, Deepak Krishnaa Govindarajan ‘25 and Prana Mohanty ‘25, of India, and Manusmriti Budhathoki ‘24, of Nepal, won the award for an app they developed to connect gardeners who have excess produce with people in need of food. The app also provides gardeners and small farms access to information on sustainable gardening practices.

The students, collectively named Team GardenMate, will receive support from IBM and the Call for Code ecosystem to advance their app, as well as $200,000 to help them in their work.

“Winning (is) a game changer for the app,” Belachew said. “The next step is incorporating machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence). Then, we can get more people working on the project. If this project goes worldwide, or even locally, it’s actually doing something good, so I’m really excited about that.”

Team GardenMate is made up of Augustana students Abemelech Mesfin Belachew ‘24, of Ethiopia,...
Team GardenMate is made up of Augustana students Abemelech Mesfin Belachew ‘24, of Ethiopia, Deepak Krishnaa Govindarajan ‘25 and Prana Mohanty ‘25, of India, and Manusmriti Budhathoki ‘24, of Nepal.(Augustana University)

“If we can all come together as a society, we can definitely solve this generation’s issues, like global warming,” Govindarajan said. “I feel like Call for Code is making that happen. All the participants — not just the finalists — did something to help sustainability, and that’s what matters.”

Previous Call for Code finalists

According to a press release from Augustana, this is the fifth Call for Code Global Challenge and second consecutive year that an Augustana team has made it to a final round. Onajite Taire ‘22 and Gedion Alemayehu ‘22 were a part of a team that was named a global finalist for the 2021 Call for Code University Challenge. AU also received a 2021 Call for Code Engagement Award for their commitment to Call for Code.

Augustana will throw a welcome-home celebration for students on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m., in the University Welcome Center at 2100 S Summit Avenue on Augustana’s campus.

To learn more information about the Call for Code, visit developer.ibm.com/callforcode.

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