Four students of Augustana University, South Dakota, US, out of which two are Indians, were named grand winners of the fifth annual ‘Call for Code Global Challenge’. The student team members are: Abemelech Mesfin Belachew of Ethiopia, Deepak Krishnaa Govindarajan ‘25 and Prana Mohanty ‘25, of India, and Manusmriti Budhathoki ‘24, of Nepal.
The winners were announced, recently, by Call for Code founding partner IBM, creator David Clark Cause, charitable partner United Nations Human Rights, and programme affiliate, the Linux Foundation. IBM’s support for Call for Code is aimed to give businesses the tools they need to create effective sustainability solutions.
“Responding to the need for impactful sustainability actions, today, and in future, the event invited innovators worldwide to help accelerate sustainability and combat climate change with open source-powered technology. The announcement of Augustana students as final winners establishes the importance of technology in tackling foreseeable climate crises, mentor’s support, and liberal arts education in building critical skills while contributing to projects that have potential to help our planet”, said Ben Iverson, Director of International Programmes & Enrolment, Augustana University, South Dakota, US.
The app developed by four students of Augustana University, students called as ‘GardenMate’ targets the problem of food waste with a marketplace for excess produce, as well as an educational platform for sustainable garden practices. GardenMate will receive $200,000 USD in addition to help from the Linux Foundation to open source their application and assistance from IBM Ecosystem Partners to deploy their solution.
This past summer, Abemelech Mesfin Belachew was joined by three of his AU peers, Deepak Krishnaa Govindarajan and Prana Mohanty ‘and Manusmriti Budhathoki to brainstorm a solution for the challenge.
Majoring in multiple fields, such as business administration, computer science & software engineering, data science, economics, finance and mathematics, the students brought a variety of different skills and perspectives to the table. They also leaned on Augustana Call for Code Faculty Representative Dr. Matthew Willard, who helped them land on the idea for GardenMate.
The group recognised the importance of Call for Code’s mission. “If we can all come together as a society, we can definitely solve this generation’s issues, like global warming,” Govindarajan said. Further he added, “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.”
According to Mohanty, solving such big problems seems attainable, but we just need to focus on what our team can do about it and do our best. Adding further she said, “And, when everybody does their best, the only outcome that we can see is success. But let’s say that we did not succeed that does not mean we stopped. We are still motivated, so we just keep going until we succeed.”