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Riverbank Initiatives, Ghana makes top 3 at 10toGO Thinkathon by Microsoft and Volkswagen




Riverbank Initiatives have been announced as one of the Top 3 teams for this year’s 10toGO Thinkathon organized by Microsoft and Volkswagen Group in partnership with World Food Program, German Entrepreneurship, and MUST Munich, along with experts from the United Nations, and other organizations.

Riverbank, a Ghanaian team made up of Cornelius Owusu-Ansah, Joel Klo, Frances Hutchful, Amos Dikenu, and Emmanuel Baah, came up against strong competition from teams all across the world but blew the jury away with their project which is focused on tackling the issue of quality education (​SDG 4​) in Ghana and Africa using Artificial Intelligence.

The Top 3 teams were:

  1. Pina, Germany.
  2. Battery Dev, Germany.
  3. Riverbank Initiatives, Ghana.

BatteryDev, which is a team from Battery Associates (​​), a unique and global network of battery enthusiasts connecting highly specialized researchers, scientists, industry leaders, programmers, practitioners, and corporations are known for their innovative work in the energy and battery sectors, came in second ​for their work on developing an open-source battery competition promoting sustainable battery development and innovation.

Taking first place was Pina (​​), a Munich-based startup with the vision of quantifying and rewarding sustainable forestry. Their product, ​Pina, enables forest owners to participate in the voluntary carbon market by digitizing the manual certification process, aided by remote sensing and artificial intelligence.

This year’s competition attracted over 100 individuals selected from across the world; forming a total of 20 teams. The teams entered the challenging 10toGo Thinkathon to refine their ideas and business offerings, including perfecting their business model, value proposition, and pitch, all with the aim of building ventures that address the U.N Sustainable Development Goals.


At the 10toGo Final, each of the teams pitched to a renowned jury that included ​Andy Goldstein (Co-founder & MD Deloitte Digital GmbH), ​Beate Hofer ​(Group CIO – Volkswagen AG), ​Christine Haupt ​(GM, Marketing & Operations – Microsoft Germany), ​Connie Hedegaard ​(Fmr EU Comm’r for Climate Action), ​Elhadj As Sy ​(Board Chairman – Kofi Annan Foundation & Fmr CEO – IFRCRC), ​Kyriacos Koupparis ​(Head of Frontier Innovations – World Food Program), ​Patrick van der Smaght​ (Director of AI research – VW Group), ​Tamy B. Ribeiro​ (Chief Mobility Evangelist & Head of Partnerships – ​Wunder Mobility),​ ​Victor Ohuruogu ​(Senior Africa Regional Manager – UN Foundation), and ​Jean-Yves Art ​(Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships – Microsoft Corp). The Jury judged the team on real-world criteria including feasibility, scalability, job creation, and impact with Riverbank Initiatives adjudged as one of the top 3 teams.

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The solution Riverbank Initiatives developed over the 1-month period of the competition and pitched, is an AI-model that predicts the program a student from one level (e.g. J.H.S) will most likely be successful in, in the next level (e.g. S.H.S) based on their grades, interests and other important factors. This coupled with a portal for accessing intellectually stimulating course content and access to mentors makes their solution an all-round system that will dramatically improve the lives of students.

We would like to congratulate Riverbank Initiatives for raising the flag of Ghana and Africa high and wish them all the best on this impactful journey.

For more information on Riverbank Initiatives, follow them on: Instagram – ​ – ​ Twitter – ​

Facebook – ​


Find information about the 10toGO competition which took place in February 2021 at


People & Lifestyle

Is a Free VPN Safe to Use? Exploring the Risks and Benefits



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In our current digital age, online privacy and security have become an importantt concerns for internet users around the world. With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and data breaches, people are actively seeking ways to protect their online activities. Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have gained popularity as tools that promise safeguarding your digital footprint. While there are many VPN options available, free VPNs, in particular, have garnered significant attention due to their accessibility. In this article, we will explore the risks and benefits of using a free VPN, with a focus on free VPN for Windows.

Understanding VPNs: What Are They?

Before delving into the world of free VPNs, let’s understand what a VPN is and how it works. A VPN is essentially a service that establishes a secure, encrypted connection between your device (in this case, your Windows PC) and a remote server. This connection masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for third parties, such as hackers or government agencies, to monitor your online activities.

The Benefits of Using a Free VPN

Enhanced Privacy: One of the primary advantages of using a free VPN is the boost in online privacy. Your internet service provider (ISP), websites, and even potential cybercriminals won’t be able to track your online behavior when you’re connected to a VPN.


Bypassing Geo-Restrictions: Free VPNs often allow users to access geo-restricted content. For example, if a streaming platform or website is only accessible in certain regions, a VPN can make it appear as though you’re browsing from an eligible location.

Protection on Public Wi-Fi: When you connect to public Wi-Fi networks, your data becomes vulnerable to interception. A free VPN can add an extra layer of security when you’re using unsecured public Wi-Fi at cafes, airports, or hotels.

The Risks Associated with Free VPNs

Data Logging: Many free VPN providers track and log user data. This can include your online activities, websites visited, and even personal information. This data may then be sold to third parties or used for targeted advertising.

Inadequate Security Measures: Some free VPNs might not implement robust encryption protocols, leaving your data vulnerable to breaches or leaks.


Limited Features: Free VPNs often come with limitations, such as slower connection speeds, data caps, and fewer server locations. These restrictions can hinder your online experience.

Malware and Adware: Some free VPN services have been found to include malware or adware in their software, potentially infecting your device.

Uncertain Jurisdiction: Free VPN providers can be based in countries with lax data privacy laws, which means they may not be obligated to protect your data.