FRIEDS (Famine Risk Index Early Detection System) Wins Rep. Palmer’s (AL-06) 2019 Congressional App Challenge

Rep. Gary Palmer has named three Vestavia students as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in Alabama’s 6th district. Jefferson County International Baccalaureate’s Katsuki Chan, Viraj Kacker and Aniket Pant submitted FRIEDS (Famine Risk Index Early Detection System), an app  for mapping the relationship between drought and populations at risk of famine. 

When asked why they were passionate about creating an app that identified pockets of famine students replied,“Our team chose to primarily focus on famine in Africa in order to assess the environmental hazards that lead to vulnerabilities among populations. In doing so, we identify areas that require the most assistance, which can often be regions that are overlooked by humanitarian aid efforts.” They hope to encourage other students to better their communities by using their computer science skills.  

Over 10,000 students registered for the 2019 Congressional App Challenge. These students created and submitted 2,177 functioning apps, marking the end of the most successful Congressional App Challenge to date. All told, 304 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 48 states, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The CAC is an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. The non-profit Internet Education Foundation provides the CAC with supplemental staffing and support. In the five years of the Congressional App Challenge, the program has yielded 1134 App Challenges across 48 states. Thousands of functional apps have been created by over 25,000 students, and participant demographics surpass all industry diversity metrics.