Our guest today, Kisanet Goitom, a young computer engineer currently working at EriTel as a network engineer, has recently won an award for ‘best female entrepreneur’ for her project, Vive Kids Animated Teacher, which aims at empowering the community through animation. Kisanet believes investing in our kids is investing in our future and came up with an idea to educate kid’s better using technology instead of seeing them waste their time in meaningless games that undermine their capacity to learn.
Thank you for your time, Eng. Kisanet. Please, introduce yourself.
Thank you for having me. I was born and raised in Asmara. I was born in 1992, attended elementary at Model Elementary School, did junior high at Bahti Meskerem School and high school at Barka Secondary School and went to Sawa as a member of the 23rd round. I joined Eritrea Institute of Technology (EIT) at Mai-Nefhi, studied computer engineering and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2016. I have been working as a network engineer at EriTel since then.
You took part in Total Energy competition of the startupper challenge of the year 2021 and 2022. Tell us a bit about it.
The competition was held by Total Energies in two categories: project ideas and projects made within the past three years. The competition focused on innovations that have visibility in relation to our country, their applicability and whether they meet requirements of the United Nations sustainability development goals. I competed in the ‘project ideas’ category and won ‘the best female entrepreneur’ prize as my project was found to be innovative and applicable and was aimed at the well-being of kids and met the needs of at least one or two of the UN sustainability development goals. I was given financial award and granted an opportunity to take an entrepreneurship and project implementation training at SMAP for more than two months, which was very helpful and motivating. That training really helped me to focus more on my project, to analyze it in different dimensions and to monitor it.
Would you share the innovative idea with our readers?
The project I came up with is called Vive Kids Animated Teacher. Vive’s French for ‘long live.’ It’s a big project that focuses on 2D and 3D animations for teaching school curriculums of English, Math and Tigrigna targeting kids under the age of thirteen. It’s planned to be released in different forms such as animated video, web application, mobile application and books. We are starting with the mobile application form and sample videos. The plan is to eventually do it in all nine Eritrean ethnic groups’ languages. We are starting with Tigrigna. The project’s simple, attractive and entertaining and aims to educate the youth and young kids through easily accessible and exciting ways.
I was really inspired to put technology and education together as I was always interested in animation videos. So I looked for ways to combine those two to come up with a very good community enlightening project. Animation is also believed to be a very crucial means of transmitting knowledge and skills in the academic world as it helps kids learn through attractive, entertaining and less boring formats. We also know the harmful effects of the use of electronic devices and social media on the youth and young kids. So my point was to make positive impact on the minds of the youth and young kids through strong tools such as animation.
How effective is your project in the national development?
As I said earlier, this project is very big. Not only is it assisting children in their education but it has also created job opportunities for people in different professions, which is one of the UN’s sustainability development goals. This is a platform that many people can participate in. Programmers, artists, teachers, designers can all participate. And on top of that, the goal to use existing media and technology to our advantage is crucial.
Engineering is traditionally considered a man’s job. How are you able to focus on your job despite the challenges?
First and foremost, as females, we should believe in ourselves. There are many challenges you face as a female, especially in the area of technology as it’s believed to be reserved just for males. We have to have a mindset that everything is possible. We all have the same opportunity in our country, and we must use it and succeed in whatever we like and help our community. I believe we have the potential. What we need is to have control of ourselves and achieve what we want just like our mothers and older sisters have done.
I was really motivated and felt more responsible when I won the award for ‘best female entrepreneur.’ I have a long-term plan to open an interactive web apps and videos about Eritrea for Eritrean kids in diaspora as they struggle to know about their country and culture. We are now implementing the project, and it will hopefully be distributed in the country in a short period of time. I’m just trying to play my part for the well-being of kids of my community, and I hope everyone does their part for the sustainability of the nation and its citizens. Thank you.
Description: The interviewee, Kisanet Goitom, is a computer engineer who has recently won ‘the best female entrepreneur’ in the start upper competition held by Total Energies. She won with her project idea that aims at the well-being of kids for a better and sustainable future by combining technology and education.