Why you should support young people to apply for Coolest Projects

Coolest Projects is back — bigger, better, and it’s online!

For the first time in its eight-year history, Coolest Projects’ annual events moved online in 2020. Coolest Projects 2020 saw innovative and creative projects from young people, many of them part of amazing organisations worldwide. This year, we are back with Coolest Projects online, and we are looking forward to more awesome projects. It’s going to be bigger than ever before, enabling young people worldwide to participate and share their creations with a global audience! 

Be inspired by two of our incredible partners from Iraq and the Netherlands who supported their young people to participate in Coolest Projects 2020. We also have the practical information you need to get involved in this year’s showcase. Now that it’s online, all Ninjas can participate in this global community event. 

Code Club Partner – Khutwa Centre, Iraq

Nadia Al-Aboody leads our National Partner in Iraq, Khutwa Centre, which is a community centre focussed on positively impacting the lives of young people in Maysan Province. Through their hard work and dedication to furthering Code Club’s mission, as well as through their participation in Coolest Projects, they have so far positively impacted the lives of over 100 young people and over 50 female volunteers both within Iraq and further afield. 

This is how Nadia supported her community in participating in Coolest Projects. Before the pandemic, Nadia worked hard along with the team at CoderDojo to secure funding to enable her Ninjas to fly to Ireland to participate in Coolest Projects International 2020. However, the event did not work out as planned! When Coolest Projects 2020 couldn’t be held in person and went online, Nadia saw this as a wonderful opportunity to open the door for more learners in Iraq to participate, some for the very first time! 

Nadia says: “Getting to bring our young people from Code Clubs in Iraq to the Coolest Projects online showcase helped us further our reach in Iraq. Without such an event to work towards, both the young people and our volunteers wouldn’t have been as engaged as they were, which helps make what we do at Khutwa Centre a more rewarding experience.”

We thought that all the projects from the young people from Iraq were great. We love that we got to see all of them instead of just a small selection, and Nadia herself let us know her favourites! Check out Nadia’s favourite projects — Snakes and Ladders by Ibrahim and Smart Waste Management by Zahraa, Maryam, and Mohammed. 

CoderDojo Partner – CoderDojo Netherlands

As the National Partner for the Netherlands, CoderDojo NL has a long history of working with the CoderDojo Foundation. It serves as the central hub in the Netherlands to establish and maintain connections in the Dutch community. 

For a long time now, CoderDojo NL’s champions, Sanneke van der Meer, Marloes van der Meulen, and Christian Vermeulen, have been shining examples of ensuring that the mission of CoderDojo has the greatest possible impact on youth opportunities and volunteering. That goes for year-round Dojo activities, as well as participation in Coolest Projects International for those who can make the trip to Dublin. Now that the showcase is online, all Ninjas can be involved in this global community event. 

One of last year’s participants is Niels. He is an 11-year-old Ninja at CoderDojo NL whose favourite hobbies are watching YouTube videos and gaming with friends. Niels heard about Coolest Projects from his brother, who participated in Coolest Projects 2017 and said that he had the most awesome day! 

Niels says: “It was hard to invent an idea…I wanted to make something I can really use. Preferably with my smartphone. After looking at some YouTube videos, I decided that I wanted to make our home a bit smarter. Our home is not a ‘smart home’, and I wanted to change that!

In my smart home project, I made a solar panel for blinking the LEDs. I programmed it, so we get an SMS when someone rings the doorbell, and I can see who it is with the help of a Raspberry Pi Camera [Module], Raspberry Pi Zero, and a Bluetooth app. I also put a sensor in the garden to see the temperature and humidity on my smartphone. Using an Arduino, an LCD screen, a keypad, and a servo, I added code to lock the front door. The door would only open with the right code and display “Welcome home, Niels” on the screen!”.

Niels’s advice to all young people is “If you want to join CoolestProjects and make a nice project, just do it!”. Neils says he spent hours working on YouTube, watching DIY and how-to videos about Arduino and Raspberry Pi. If he tried something and it didn’t work, he would keep trying until it finally worked! 

Marloes, one of the champions at CoderDojo NL, feels that having the opportunity to take the Ninjas to Coolest Projects, whether online or at the in-person event in Dublin, has cemented why they work with the CoderDojo Foundation. She believes that both organisations help each other create a positive experience for young people in the Netherlands, and we couldn’t agree more!

Why should YOU participate in Coolest Projects?

Give young people in your community the opportunity to access a unique and enriching experience!

From our experience, we know that participating in Coolest Projects can be a very positive experience for learners. It can also be a powerful motivator to develop critical twenty-first century skills, including social, analytical, design, and computational thinking. 

Registering for Coolest Projects is super easy; it is free to enter and open to all young creators up to 18, regardless of their experience, skill level, background, or choice of programming language. The project doesn’t even have to be fully finished to be a part of the showcase! 

All young creators will receive a certificate of participation. Our VIP judges will select a number of their favourites, which will be announced as part of a special live-streamed event in June! 

We want to support you so the young people you work with also get an opportunity to participate in this global event. Coolest Projects is an excellent opportunity for organisations to help educators and parents keep young people engaged at this time and give recognition to the young creators involved in your initiatives. Select organisations will also get a chance to be featured on our Coolest Projects blog!

Promote Coolest Projects International to your community by using this Partner pack

Don’t forget to check out Josh’s and Divya’s favourite projects for some inspiration! 

We absolutely love this project entitled Autistically Awesome, which allows us a better appreciation of how autism affects people’s lives. 

Another project that really impressed us was Teenbeo, it offers teenagers a place to go online that is calm, meditative, and full of peace. 

This had to make our favourites list — it is a Burglar Buster! It’s built out of Lego and uses a Raspberry Pi 4  to run buzzers, sensors, an LED, and a camera!