Cincinnati Student Wins Digital Innovation Challenge With "Sani-Buddy," a Tool for Identifying and Finding Clean Water Sources

Sep 25, 2023 10:30 AM ET
Campaign: TCS | goIT
goIT Monthly Challenge August 2023 Winner

Young people are stepping up efforts to help achieve the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after the U.N. announced that the world is not on track to meet these critical objectives in time. To help generate momentum behind these goals, one Cincinnati, Ohio middle school student decided to tackle clean water scarcity both at home and abroad.

According to the U.N., 2.2 billion people around the globe lack safely managed drinking water. This includes 703 million people living without basic water service and 2 billion lacking basic handwashing facilities. In its presentation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, the U.N. reported that by 2030 the problem will worsen, with billions of people lacking access to safe water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene unless efforts to improve access to clean water are quadrupled.

Responding to a global invitation from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and its partner, the Sakhikamva Foundation, Vedanshi M. of Cincinnati, Ohio, submitted a concept called “Sani-Buddy” to the goIT Monthly Challenge for August 2023. She had high hopes for both its success in the competition -- which she won for North America -- and its eventual impact.

“Many people don’t have access to clean water and have to drink infected water [causing them to] get sick or die. My app wants to help prevent this,” she said.

Vedanshi pitched her detailed concept to competition judges in a three-minute video describing Sani-Buddy, her proposed app that would utilize smart technology sensors and multi-language translation to give people information about the quality of their water. The app would also feature GPS maps for finding clean water sources and even a donation option for those interested in supporting the goal of providing clean water for all.

There are many causes of water scarcity. They include increased urbanization; rising needs from sectors like agriculture, industry and energy; and rapid population growth. Water sustainability solutions like the one Vedanshi proposed could help improve health and wellness and even contribute to the preservation of water ecosystems and biodiversity. Additional and collective efforts can also contribute to enhanced food production systems, more job opportunities and economic growth.

As the North American winner of the goIT Monthly Challenge, Vedanshi’s pitch for Sani-Buddy will undergo further review by goIT judges. This could potentially result in opportunities for her to compete for mentoring opportunities, additional recognition and prizes associated with TCS’ North American and Global Innovator of the Year competitions in early 2024.

For more information on Vedanshi’s pitch, visit the TCS goIT Monthly Challenge website.

About the Sakhikamva Foundation   
Based in Cape Town, South Africa, the Sakhikamva Foundation is a registered non–profit organization involved in aviation awareness and skills development for youth and children interested in the aerospace industry. The Foundation believes that the future of the South African aerospace industry is anchored with the country’s highly talented youth, its mission being to identify and develop this talent in ensuring that a solid foundation is laid to feed the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) pipeline. It prides itself in building a future with the youth of South Africa and sets out to achieve its mission by hosting several programs and outreach projects each year. Come on board and join one of our exciting programs.

About the goIT Monthly Challenge  
Go Innovate Together (goIT) is TCS’ flagship STEM education program. Focusing on digital innovation and career readiness, goIT engages students from diverse backgrounds with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects and with computer science, design thinking and digital innovation. The program offers an industry-developed, customizable curriculum that teaches students the 21st century skills necessary for a career in technology. Lessons cover topics such as the innovation life cycle, rapid prototyping, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Since the launch of the goIT Monthly Challenge in 2020, thousands of students across the globe have used principles from goIT to design tech-based solutions by submitting pitch videos based on a monthly Challenge theme. Each month, TCS co-hosts the challenge with a globally minded nonprofit organization which acts as an SDG ambassador. The Challenge has engaged a growing number of teachers and students, exploring topics ranging from gender equality and systemic racism to protecting marine life under water.

To encourage students to participate, visit the goIT Monthly Challenge competition website at