A spark at a time.

Problem Solving 101

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It has been an interesting couple of weeks since the Sparkplug Event, we met up with some of the students, donors and they got to speak with the Mentors. I have learn’t so much in so little time and I can categorically say I am excited about the future.

Success is a combination of multiple factors and events some of which you have no control over. Our intention is to create an eco-system setup to breed high quality Software Engineers, I strongly feel the language you use to talk to computers is not as important as what you say to them or how you say these things to them so we asked our applicants simple questions that could give us an idea of their approach to problem solving regardless the complexity or the nature of the problem.

I strongly feel this first set is worth our time and attention, they have proven to us that they know how to self organize, they are passionate about technology and they are ready to take over the world. 

Goodluck to Sparkplug 1.


Moving forward..

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I sent this tweet last week and in 3 days, Sparkplug got 154 Applicants, 18 Mentors and 20 Volunteers. This means we have people that want to learn , people that want to teach and people that are ready to bring their resources together to make this happen. Sparkplug was designed to be a collective effort amongst like minds and it is well off to a good start.

Next steps, for  Phase 1, we plan to admit 30 students by going through a vetting process and interviewing . Unfortunately we have to temporarily put a hold to some prospective students until we go through phase 1. Sparkplug is going through an ‘early stage, growth process’ and we think its important to maintain the quality of our delivery so we can prepare better for the future. As of today, we have put a hold on receiving student applications. 

We are super excited about Sparkplug, our students, mentors and volunteers. On the 9th of February, we will be a having a soft launch in Lagos by inviting our students and mentors to a meet and greet.

Prospective students should expect an email from us this week regarding next steps.


8 years ago..

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8 years ago, I moved to Canada to further my education. At the moment I couldn’t have fathomed the magnitude and sacrifice my wonderful parents provided me, in order to afford me a world class education.  My first class in college was a Programming class, ENG 1D04 I got into that class and realised right away I was way over my head. Fast-forward 8 years later, I have graduated as an engineer and I’m in a career I really enjoy. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without my parent’s sacrifice and an education.  

Education is the key to liberation, without it one can never be informed enough to achieve maximum potential. This is what a lot of young adults in Africa are facing at the moment. Victims of a failed government, they are bound by their environment and not a lack of interest or laziness, as Africans are known for their sheer resilience and hard work. When Olumide told me about his idea for sparkplug, it immediately resonated with me! This is what we need as a continent.

Africans must begin to liberate themselves from the constant dependence on the government and begin to find creative ways to solve their own problems. This ranges from education to power. But how can they be exposed to these ideas without the tools?

This is where Africans in diaspora need to come together.  We need to break off from the mentality of being political critics to actually using our resources no matter how miniscule to solve real world problems back home. Last year, Nigerians remitted $35Billion back home, the 3rd highest in the world. SparkPlug is the first step in that direction, the traditional model for education where a student has to go to highschool and then university with the option of masters in order to have employable skills has been disrupted. Various online tools are available that can teach children right out of high school how to develop employable skills especially in software engineering.  With as little as an old laptop you could be an agent for change in someone’s life. So I implore you, next time you’re at your round table with your friends discussing Home (wherever that may be) and you notice the conversation shift to criticism ask: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HELP?!

– Tobi Popoola

A spark at a time

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I am very passionate about Technology and how it can affect our lives and alleviate poverty in Africa.

I feel learning is the most magical thing ever, the ability to grasp a concept by using the natural gift available to us all. Learning has no boundaries. I also think the idea of unsupervised learning is valid as I have adopted this approach since the first time my Dad showed me a computer.

3 years ago, I was helping my friend ( Ayomide ‘Aday’ Sami-Orungbe ) with moving to a new place and we came across her old laptop, she had upgraded to a shiny new macbook and her older laptop was out of commission. I asked her if she could give it to me since I already had the idea of Sparkplug brewing in my head.

2 years ago I also asked my friend, Yomi Adesanya for his old laptop and he happily obliged as he thought the concept was a solid way to get rid of the laptop while making a difference at the same time.

Sparkplug is a social enterprise setup to re-purpose old laptops from all over the world by ‘sprucing’ it up with open source technology, videos and material designed to teach Software Engineering.

We want to get these laptops to the hands of young and smart African in an attempt to kick start the snowball effect Africans using technology as a major driver of solving problems around us.

A very special thank you to Ayomide ‘Aday’ Sami-Orungbe and Yomi Adesanya for creating a spark in an attempt to start a fire.

Go to http;// to give an old laptop, apply for a laptop or Volunteer to be a part of the revolution.