News Brief

36 African Teams Made It to the "First Global" Robotics Challenge In D.C.—Here's How They're Doing

The inaugural youth robotics competition, First Global Challenge, is taking place right now in Washington D.C. and these African teams are there to represent.

DIASPORA—The inaugural youth robotics competition, First Global Challenge, is taking place right now in Washington D.C.


The STEM competition sees teams—consisting of teenagers ages 15 to 18 years—from across the globe, submitting their inventions in the hopes of earning the highest number of points and winning the competition.

African countries came to represent this year—of the 158 teams in attendance—36 of them are from the continent, reports The Washington Times.

Earlier in the month, both the Afghan and Gambian teams were denied visa entry into the United States when they first applied. Despite this roadblock both teams made it to Washington D.C. to compete. The self-taught Gambian team will present their cube-shaped robot, which creates balls that help separate contaminated water from clean water. Around 60 percent of the teams at the competition are led by first-time inventors.

The competition is currently in its fourth round, and the most current rankings place Gabon in 6th place, Haiti in 10th place and the Robo Teens from Nigeria are in 15th place.

You can view the full fourth round rankings below:

First Global is putting an emphasis on female participation. More than 200 participants are women—some teams consist solely of women—and 60 percent of the teams are being led and organized by women in tech.

You can keep up with the competition via Twitter to see which country wins the title, and check out more African teams in action below.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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