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Marty the Robot teaches African township kids coding



Edinburgh start-up Robotical is working with South African NGO Got Game to improve the life chances of disadvantaged youths in the country’s poorest area.

The business which created educational tool Marty the Robot has teamed up with the organisation on Nokia’s Helping Hands project, helping schools teach coding and programming skills.

That has already resulted in programmable robot Marty marching into townships in Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Limpopo region.

Deon Geyser, market unit head for southern Africa at Nokia, said: “We were specifically drawn to Marty as the robot can be used by children of all ages. As their coding skills get more advanced, Marty can be scaled up accordingly.

“Projects like these can have a more sustainable impact on the lives of young people. Therefore, it’s important that tools can show value for a number of age groups and for long periods of time, but also be fun and entertaining for the children, otherwise they fall flat. Marty provides such a tool.”

Helping Hands is Nokia’s global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme which supports employee-driven community initiatives across the world using tech for a social purpose.

Got Game was founded in 2012, with the aim of bringing STEM to as wide an audience as possible and its ongoing We Code drive aims to help fill a global skills gap.

Keane Small, project lead at Got Game, said: “Having access to such an innovative piece of tech as Marty the Robot is a really exciting step for us

“The fact that our pupils can progress from basic Scratch coding through to more complex Python exercises is a real plus. We have run initiatives in the past on a smaller scale with great success.

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“Many of the children we work with have never had access to a computer, so our aim is to bridge the gap between those that do and those that don’t. By doing so we hope we can equip all children across South Africa with the skills needed for the job market of the future.”

Robotical was founded in 2016 to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists. by letting them get hands on experience. Thousands of Martys have found their way into schools worldwide and V2 is due to be released this year. Robotical has worked closely with Got Game to ensure children get as much out of Marty as they can.

Robotical founder and CEO Sandy Enoch said: “This initiative is really at the heart of what we are trying to achieve as a company. Our aim has always been to make coding exciting, fun and accessible for as many young people as possible, regardless of where they are from.

“The feedback from Got Game thus far has been fantastic, and it is truly humbling to think that Marty could have a real impact on the lives of children that have never had access to technology. This is exactly why I started Robotical.”



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