Motorola Innovation Camp Report


A total of 104 learners from Sefika Primary School in Molapo, Soweto, attended the Coding and Robotics Innovation Camp on 12 April 2019 at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg, which was made possible by the Motorola Solutions Foundation.

Innovation Camps are Junior Achievement’s (JA) experiential programmes that build technical (coding and engineering) and soft skills (creativity, design thinking, teamwork and problem solving) of young learners.

Working in teams supported by VJ Robotics, as well as an amazing team of volunteers and JASA alumni, learners had to build a prototype that will help them survive on Mars and have at least one moving part. Their creative flair particularly stood out as they collaborated to complement each other’s prototypes and convince the judges on the best solution.

Learners had the opportunity to foster an understanding of the world of business and a spirit of entrepreneurship through the principle of ‘Learning by Doing’. They were able to develop their interpersonal as well as problem-solving skills and learnt to work under tight deadlines, as they would in a work environment.

Elizabeth Bintliff, CEO of JA in Africa, came to support the event and said learning by doing is a central tenet of JA’s approach.

“This is especially critical in Africa where young people are often taught how things are made rather than how to make things. We are truly grateful to Motorola Solutions Foundation for sponsoring this all-important initiative of empowering young people to make informed career choices,” she said.

“It is initiatives like these where learners are taken away from their normal learning environment and challenged to do things differently that really bring about the best learnings,” said Francinah Raseroka, Gauteng Department of Education - Johannesburg Central District.

Learners who participated in the interactive Innovation Camp added that it is such a great opportunity for learners from township schools as they are really not that exposed to such.

“I am very happy that I got the opportunity to be part of such a great programme. I was not aware that we came to do such a productive project and that there is also a prize!” said one of the learners who was part of the winning team.

Bagcinile Kwinda, a JASA Alumni who volunteered, said that she was over the moon to get involved.

“I know JASA from KZN long time ago, and couldn’t miss the opportunity to volunteer as I the skills learnt are invaluable. It is an inspiration to help learners see and experience more beyond what they know,” says Kwinda.

Team Meraki have a memorable time at Africa Regional COY in Ghana

Three Mc Auley House students represent South Africa at the Regional COY final in Ghana

The regional JA Africa Company of the Year 2018 was held Ghana in December. JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng, Programmes Manager Terence Modiba, Programmes Coordinator Elias Sebola and three members of the South African winning team  Meraki, who come from
McAuley House in Johannesburg, travelled to Accra to attend. Team member Mmatladi Laka shares her experience and photos from the event:

My experience at Coy was memorable. At first I didn’t know what to expect and so I was nervous. We had done a lot of activities as a team and met a lot of people with successful businesses. We had a lot of motivational speeches from the speakers and it motivated me a lot. This experience made me see that there are a lot of opportunities out there, that we live in a small world, and that it’s not easy to go out there and be what you want. But, by having hope and inspiration ,and applying yourself, you can make your dreams come true.


Ghana is a beautiful country. The people there are wonderful and very convincing. When we went to the market place, we watched how the sellers sold themselves and how they were convincing tourists to buy their goods and not giving up. The people from the hotel were very friendly and the food was outstanding – the chefs outdid themselves every day.

Meeting people from other parts of Africa was a great form of networking and a great opportunity because, as they say, you never know who will be your future boss or future employee.

COY was a wonderful experience and, with the knowledge and guidance that was given, I plan on taking my dreams to the next level. Thanks to JA South Africa for giving me the opportunity to do so.


JASA MD Nelly Mofokeng filmed their presentation from the audience, which you can view here.