Machines, projects out of the box and even a photo taken by a robot right at the entrance. When António Costa visited the projects and institutions on display at Alfândega do Porto, within the scope of the Permanent Forum for Digital Skills, the usual apparatus also followed him and many, especially younger ones, did not want to miss the opportunity to show his idea to the first -minister.
Even before this visit, Costa took the stage at the opening session of the third edition of the INCoDe.2030 Forum to give a guarantee: “The new digital society will have a great impact”, but it must include everyone. For the prime minister, the challenge of the transition to a digital society "is an asset to face all others", but it must be, above all, "an opportunity to combat existing inequalities".
António Costa, accompanied by the Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, the Minister of Education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, and the Minister of Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, made a point of remembering that Portugal is “above the European average” with the new digital generations but that, even so, there are those who are left out. "Then there are all the others: my generation, that of Rogério Carapuça (president of the Forum), where the delay at this level is absolutely gigantic".
In the week in which the Government presents the Action Plan for Digital Transition, Costa points out that, in addition to the importance of young people in this plan, it is also necessary to take into account “those who are already in the labor market and those who, having left the market, they cannot be excluded because they must be able to age with quality ”. “If we want to win this challenge it is not to think that it is only with those who are in the front line and leave the others behind. It would be an unbearable burden for those on the front lines, ”he adds.
Among the young people who had the opportunity to explain their project to the ministers during the visit to the exhibition were Rúben Rodrigues, 15, and Joana Sousa, 14. The two students from the Levante da Maia Basic and Secondary School, along with another colleague, Filipa Ferreira, created Only Heal, an application that allows a more effective connection between users and pharmacists.
We started looking at the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and focused on goal # 3: quality health. We realized that one of the problems was the lack of knowledge and excessive doubts about doses, regularity of taking the medications and we realized that an app that brought the two together, both direct contact with the pharmacist and a place to store the plans, would be excellent ”, Tells Rúben to the Observer.
The three young people participated in Apps for Good, a program launched by CDI Portugal that encourages teachers and young people between 10 and 18 years old to develop applications for smartphones and tablets that contribute to solving problems related to the world's sustainability. “The project was already implemented in our school and we always followed what was happening very closely. Until the following year we were challenged to participate ”, adds Rúben.
Only Heal, stresses Joana, “makes communication between the user and the pharmacist simpler and more efficient through a chat where the user can send doubts and suggestions and ask for advice”. “They can also digitally save the medication taking plans, in which the user puts the information about the medication and will also be notified in advance about the time to take it”, adds the student from this Maia school.
The three young people were developing the project in an extra-curricular way and the enthusiasm was so strong that sometimes they were “until one, two in the morning thinking about ideas”. The project was developed with the help of two pharmacies in the community where the group lives and now the goal is to get the idea out of the paper. “Our dream has always been for this app to go to the market and be useful,” explains Joana. The group is trying to find an investor, after having sparked interest in this year's Web Summit, an event where it was present.
On the table right next to Only Heal, and also from the same school, are Rita Polido and Gonçalo Rocha, 14, to showcase MustBeGreen, a free app that aims to help find companies to clear land, according to the localization. “Given the law that was implemented in 2018 on the lack of cleanliness of the land, we tried to help and create an app that could facilitate communication between the owners, tenants or entities that have land around their facilities and the companies dedicated to this service forest cleaning, ”says Rita to the Observer.
In the prototype developed by the app, the client can request quotes and communicate via chat with the heads of the companies, with the work now trying to locate all the companies and establish partnerships with parish councils to help with the list and put the project on the market.
The client has access to a list of companies that are located in his residence, where the land is located, or close to it. For example, if you have a land in Lisbon and you want to clear my land in Lisbon and send a company from here to clean a land in Lisbon, it would cost a lot because the locations are a little separate and it would cost transport. This way, it will be much more effective to clean a land that is further away ”, underlines Carolina.
It was when news of forest fires “started to be everywhere” that the two young people, along with Carolina Oliveira, decided to think about how it could help the community. “That was when the idea came up,” said Gonçalo. The most difficult was teamwork, "because sometimes the ideas among the group members were not the same".
Being at that exhibition table and at an event dedicated to digital skills, they explain, is “a very big tribute” to the work that has been done for several months. "Knowing that we got here is very good," says Carolina.
Emerência Teixeira, professor of Natural Sciences, was responsible for bringing Apps for Good to the school of these two groups and highlights the “dynamism and resilience” of the students throughout the process, something that goes far beyond a simple class: “ There were aspects of their creativity that I wouldn't have realized if I didn't work with them in this way. They are students who are able to draw up a business plan, draw up a market study, draw up a marketing plan. Therefore, it goes far beyond the classroom ”.