11 February 2013

Nigeria: Women in Tech Opens Mobile APPs Challenge for Girls

Lagos — As part of the ITU's Girls in ICT project and Tech Needs Girls campaign, Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN) has introduced Technovation Challenge to Nigeria tagged 'the Mobile App Challenge' for secondary school girls between the ages of 13 and18.

The girls would work in teams of 5s to develop mobile apps, conduct market research, write business plans, and create a "pitch" for funding.

According to the group, each team will work with both a classroom teacher at their school and a female mentor or role model from the technology industry.

Mrs Martha Omoekpen Alade, Chairperson of WITIN said the group will lead mentors in Nigeria who would guide teachers to train teams from now till April 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 goal of the program she stated was 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 explained 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.

She disclosed that the overall winner will receive $10,000 in funding and support to complete their app development and release it on the market and the end, girl learn about collaboration and teamwork, important skills in the technology industry.

The WITIN Chairperson however informed that for students to sign up for the contest, "all you need is a team of 5 girls, a computer, an Android phone, and a teacher or adult to support the team."

She said "It reinforces the following academic concepts: digital representation of information, algorithmic thinking and programming, and the societal impact of information and information technology. Over this period girls will be trained 2hours 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."

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