UTech Jamaica team is one of 5 top university finalists addressing global issues in IBM’s 2020 Call for Code Challenge

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By STEM Caribbean | Posted on October 13, 2020

Tonight the IBM 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge winner will be revealed in a live event celebrating over 400,000 developers and problem-solvers from around the world. Among the top 5 finalists in the University Edition of this year’s challenge are Joshua Thompson and Odain Brown, and Caribbean Girls Hack Ambassadors, Juleen Gentles and Roshelle Pinnock representing the University of Technology in Jamaica. 

Every year since 2018, Call for Code has invited developers, innovators, and problem-solvers across the globe to create solutions that tackle pressing global issues using use one or more IBM Cloud services or IBM Systems. This initiative was created by David Clark Cause and is supported by Founding Partner IBM and Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights. 

Through this tech-for-good initiative, the largest of its kind, with support from The Linux Foundation, the top solutions are implemented and open sourced. This year’s challenge called on participants to address climate change and COVID-19. Teams from seven regions around the world created solutions.   

IBM partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative University for the first time ever to facilitate a University Edition of Call for Code this year, which gave more than 53,000 students around the world an opportunity to help fight COVID-19 and climate change according to weather.com, which is powered by IBM Cloud. 

The team representing the University of Technology Jamaica created a solution called “Plant-It,” a mobile app that helps fight against climate change by taking on issues resulting from deforestation, plastic pollution, and transportation contributing to climate change.   

Plant-It helps users grow their own food by providing them with convenient options and features right at their fingertips to encourage growing food at home. The app displays customized suggestions of foods to plant based on the users’ preferences and lifestyles, and even allows users to have seedlings delivered to their homes.   

Users can also create their garden virtually through the app and keep track of what they’ve planted while receiving critical alerts such as when to water and harvest their crops. Any produce in excess can be sold through the app’s marketplace feature, where buyers and sellers can conveniently conduct transactions.   

The team is passionate about how their solution can affect lives and ultimately fight climate change.   

“This is a movement. Zero-waste, zero plastic, food security, self-sustenance, these are so many social values that are incorporated in our vision for Plant-It, and we just want to take over the world showing people that growing your own food is fulfilling, it’s affordable, and it’s entirely possible,” says Plant-It team member, Juleen Gentles.  

In the celebratory event tonight, attendees will learn about the solutions taking on climate change and COVID-19. Van Jones, CNN political commentator and host, and CEO of REFORM Alliance, will host this momentous event. Featured speakers at the event include IBM’s CEO, Arvind Krishna, and Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation. The event also features the award-winning musical group, Soweto Gospel Choir, to entertain attendees.  

The winning team of the Global Challenge will win USD 200,000 and a chance to see their solution deployed. One team under the University Edition will win USD 10,000, and each member will receive the opportunity to interview for a potential role at IBM.  

The live event is scheduled to begin tonight at 7:30 pm ET and can be viewed at https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/awards/live

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