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WITIN boosts girls’ ICT access with national technovation pitch challenge

By Esther Onyegbula

As part of measures to further bridge the gap between girls and boys access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN) on Tuesday in Lagos, hosted the 2014 edition of Tech 4D forum for women with theme women leading through technology.

The first session had over 500 girls from about 13 secondary schools in Lagos, Ogun and Delta state, kicked off with a Technovation challenge poster where 15 teams talked about their apps on their poster stands, as participants and delegates toured round the stand and ask the young apps developer questions about their apps.

Participating schools did three minutes presentation of their apps which is intended to solve a peculiar societal challenge. Princeton College developed apps that takes care of ground travels, as well as provides 24 hours tracking, emergency and reservation for travelers and tourist. Honeyland developed electricity unit calculator apps that will help Nigerians to calculate their consumption value and has naira interface.

University of Lagos International School developed an application called “rescue your size apps”. The application is designed to help reduce the fitness and dieting problems in Nigeria using algorithms and functions, including the body mass index function which helps to determine the fitness level of individuals.

While Dogregos Private Academy developed apps that help locate public convenience in Lagos with exact location of facilities location. This application is unique as it addresses the challenge of locating public conveniences and environmental pollution.

The technovation challenge national pitch, according to WITIN, is a global technology entrepreneurship programme for girls, created to discover their ingenuity in apps development and programming.

Coordinator and President of WITIN, Mrs. Martha Omoekpe Alade, noted that the challenge is the largest and longest-running global technology competition exclusively for girls to inspire the pursuit of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

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“This contest allows girls learn how to code and develop mobile apps, conduct market research, write business plans, and create a “pitch” for funding. They are also 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 stated.

According to her, the initiative is in line with the Federal government’s drive to bridge the growing gap in ICT between young females and their male counterparts. Participating schools this year include –Vivian Fowler; Fountain Heights; Princeton College, Unilag international school; Laureates College; Dogregos Private Academy, Honeyland Schools among others.

Presenting the awards to last years winners, developed a mobile application to solve traffic problem in Nigeria, Honourable Abike Dabiri Erewa encouraged the girls to be determined to succeed.

While encouraging parents to pay keen interest to what their wards are into, Alade disclosed that the world pitch holds in California, USA around May this year.
Last year, the winners from Nigeria emerged top 10 globally, after developing a mobile application to solve traffic problem in Nigeria.

Mrs. Nkemdilim Begho, MD FutureSoft, noted that the apps development and entrepreneurship mentoring will not only help bring the best in the girls; but also inspire them into creativity and fundamentals of technological innovation.

She called for support from various stakeholders in the country to help give the initiative the needed to support that will see it grow.

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