Spotlight: 10 Year-Old Soliyana Gizaw From Ethiopia Wins 2020 African Code Challenge

According to organizers Soliyana's submission called "Mathstainement" won the Pan-African prize topping participants from 54 countries. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: January 27th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — 10 years old Soliyana Gizaw from Ethiopia has been named the winner of the 2020 African Code Challenge, a newly launched continent-wide tech competition where young people were asked to create an educational computer game.

According to organizers Soliyana’s submission called “Mathstainement” won the Pan-African prize leading participants from 54 countries.

“After a rigorous round of judging for this year’s AfriCAN Code Challenge, SAP Africa Code Week’s top 10 winners were announced and special highlights include the top 3 being all-female, aged 10 – 16 years, with Soliyana, 10 years old from Ethiopia as the Pan-African winner of the competition,” the press release stated.

Africa Code Week’s Global Coordinator Olajide Ademola Ajayi said: “Despite the COVID disruption for schools which impacted hundreds of millions of youth across Africa, children from more than 54 countries stepped-up to share their vision of the future of education.”

The announcement notes that “the AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 – 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to answer the question: “How will your tech change the future of education?”

In her video presentation Soliyana explains that her app “is not only a game,” but also “creates awareness about COVID-19.”

Watch: An app called MATHSTAINMENT made with SCRATCH_ Educational game_ African Code Challenge_ Ethiopia by Soliyana Gizaw

The press release adds:

During the AfriCAN Code Challenge youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, and entries featured a two-minute YouTube clip showcasing how their game works and why it should be considered a winning entry. The unique initiative and entry mechanism called upon the children’s ability to design a project that would solve a community-issue, code it, and communicate it.

During the opening rounds of the challenge, participation reached across 40 countries and featured 100 project video clips, only the top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, followed by 22 countries in the final judging stage.

Selected by a high-level jury composed of key Africa Code Week delegates and STEM education experts, the top three of the AfriCAN Code Challenge is: Ethiopia – Mathstainement (Soliyana, 10 years old); South Africa-Space Quest (Kayla, 15 years old); Algeria-Welcome to the Best School (Sarah, 16 years old)

Followed by:
4th: Mauritius – Mr. E-Bin
5th: Nigeria – I-Learn
6th: Tunisia – Warrior
7th: Morocco – Abdelilah Hashas
8th: Zimbabwe – HeadStart Game
9th: Rwanda – Math Puzzles for Kids
10th: Ivory Coast – Easy Preterit

You can learn more about the competition at

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