Students in elementary and high school go through the theoretical concepts of math and physics but barely understand the real-life application of the ideas they grasp in the classroom.
Meanwhile, at higher institutions, students that study Electrical, Bio-Medical, and Mechanical Engineering fields often come up with great innovative products for their graduating thesis projects, but these products often fail to make it to market.
The usual reason behind this is the lack of funds to develop a better version of the products built just for thesis defense.
For one center in southwest Ethiopia, these are all related and pressing issues and the center is putting effort into overcoming these challenges.
Dynamo Center for Technology is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and research center in Jimma.
The center gives short-term practical-based training using its local language-based digital teaching devices to deliver science education easily and artistically based on the student’s age and knowledge.
The center has recently received recognition for its work and was named the winner of the 2022 edition of Ethiopia’s Startupper of the Year Challenge by TotalEnergies.
Dynamo was formed in 2019 with the partnership of two childhood friends Abdurahman Shemsedin and Samuel Teshome aiming to transfer the knowledge and experience they have gathered to their community.
Abdurahman Shemsedin, CEO and co-founder of Dynamo, goes two years back and remembers the time when they started to form the company.
The duo used to give training on the topics of robotics and hardware coding concepts while they were at Jimma University.
“We used to engage in troubleshooting sessions for different kinds of programming and hardware coding projects in the university. The engagements and the experience we have had on the campus gave us the green light to think about going on to the market with these skills on hand,” Abdurahman elaborates.
“We collected funds from family and saved up some cash from the competitions we had won at school. We gathered that up and launched our company” he added.
Providing STEM education for students was Dynamo’s first scope; later, the range widened to include the research and development of different innovative solutions.
In the education sector, the center delivers training to young elementary and high school students both at the center and at different schools in Jimma.
“Working with kids is a bit tiring, but when you see their progress in developing solid solutions, it motivates our team to keep on doing what we are doing,” Abdurahman pointed out to Shega.
The center has developed localized manuals and books for the students in Amharic and Affaan Oromoo that help the kids catch up on the complicated level of hardware and robotics science easily.
“We had worked a lot on localization of the content for the tools and the applications before we onboarded the students,” added Abdurahman.
Dynamo focuses on giving STEM-based education to young students that will help them understand the application of the fundamental physics and math they learn in the regular school curriculum.
Abdurahman elaborated on the essentiality of the training, saying, “When kids take the Robot Navigator class at our center, they learn about angle in maths and understand the concepts of displacement and velocity from physics.”
“Parents consider this kind of training a luxury for the students. But we apply the science the students learn in school. There is an awareness problem, and we are working hard to solve it, “said Abdurahman.
Besides the classes on STEM topics for elementary students, Dynamo also delivers short-term courses on graphic design, programming, and web development for anyone who would like to learn.
The other business line of Dynamo is providing consultancy services, mainly for graduating students, and renting hardware materials for students to work on their engineering projects.
The lab center of Dynamo also includes high-processing computers that are rented out to users.
“We felt the pain of the lack of materials while we were at university,” Shega asked Abdurahman, why they had started renting out the utilities they had bought in the past years.
“We have consulted more than 100 projects for graduating students,” Abdurahman added.
The other central focus area of Dynamo is the research and development department. Abdurahman mentions that adding Mihert, a bio-medical engineer, has greatly improved their team’s competency in developing problem-solving solutions.
Dynamo is now working on building a tractor with the full hope that it will be a solution for small-scale farmers in Ethiopia to help them maximize their productivity.
The tractor with ten horsepower can farm, sow, and even spread lubricant medicines across any farm.
This solution is being developed in collaboration with Jimma University and is expected to go to the market soon.
Dynamo is also planning to enter the market with different software solutions in the coming year as the team has already been working and developing different financial and management software.