By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. January 29, 2013: In line with the International Communication Union’s (ITU) Tech Needs Girls campaign, Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN) has unveiled Technovation Challenge, a new Mobile Apps contest for secondary school girls across the country.
Tech Needs Girls is a new ITU campaign that seeks, through extensive engagement with government and private sector stakeholders, to attract greater participation of girls in the technology sector.
The campaign seeks to achieve greater empowerment, equality, education and employment for girls through greater access to opportunities in the world of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
WITIN announced in a statement made available to Technology Times that it opened launched the mobile Apps challenge on Monday that will be open to Secondary School girls in Nigeria between the ages of 13 and 18. The girls are expected to work in teams of five to develop mobile apps, conduct market research, write a business plan, and create a pitch for funding.
“WITIN will lead mentors in Nigeria who would guide teachers to train teams from now till April on how to build the apps. The training culminates in a global competition where teams compete for funding to launch their company and take their app to market,” the body says.
WITIN notes that over this period girls would be trained two hours a week to develop a potential solution to a problem and program a mobile phone application to solve it.
“The app must solve a problem in their local community. This could be a health problem that affects their community, a social problem, or even a lack of a resource. They will learn how to study their competition, identify ways in which they can gather users and earn revenue. Each team will be guided by a teacher from their school and a female mentor from the high tech industry to support and act as a role model for her team,” WITIN adds.
Martha Alade, WITIN Chairman, the goal of the program is to promote women in technology by inspiring girls to see themselves not just as users of technology, but as inventors, designers, builders, and entrepreneurs in the technology industry.
Alade says that, “the girls are taught life skills such as how to identify a problem, design and test a solution, collaborate with a team, and communicate to different audiences. It reinforces the following academic concepts: digital representation of information, algorithmic thinking and programming, and the societal impact of information and information technology.”
According to her, the winning team will be celebrated in Nigeria on April 25(the Girls in ICT Day) and will travel to the Silicon Valley California to compete globally on May 1, this year.
She adds that the overall winners would receive $10,000 in funding and support to complete their app development and release it to the market.
“To sign up- all you need is a team of five girls, a computer, an Android phone, and a teacher or adult to support the team,” she adds.