By Esther Onyegbula
Following the resounding victory of five Nigeria School Girls, who won the gold medal at the 2018 World Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley in San Francisco, US a few days ago, the Nigerian nation has been thrown into celebrations. However, many people do not know who pioneered the Technovation Challenge in Nigeria.
Mrs Martha Omoekpen Alade, is not only the pioneer of the Technovation program in Nigeria but in Africa at large. Martha, a computer science lecturer at the Paul University Awka, who also doubles as the founder of Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), revealed this to us during an interview in her office, immediately after the announcement of the winners of the 2018 World Technovation Challenge in the Silicon Valley, in San Francisco, United States of America
Since Martha established Women in Technology in Nigeria in May 2009 as a result of the skills gap noticed in women empowerment, to address existing problems like limited access of women to technology so as to help them increase their potentials and input towards national development and better family sustenance. There is no looking back in her quest to create platform for the girl child to be empowered technologically.
Apart from advocating empowerment related policies at the National level, she has championed activities that include organizing quiz competitions, career fairs and enlightenment campaigns for secondary schools.
With a passion to tackle the gender imbalance in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Africa especially in Nigeria, Martha Omoekpen Alade keeps creating awareness to encourage young girls to be technologically savvy and provide training of young women on entrepreneurship and offer basic business skills training for rural women and promotion of their products online.
In 2015 Ihejiamaizu, an International Exchange Alumni and founder of iKapture Networks, came first, winning gold in the Technovation Challenge world pitch that was held at San Francisco, USA. The winning team comprised of four brilliant girls: Praise David-Oku, Sonam Kumar, Nmesoma Ogbonna, and Grace Akpoiroro. They developed a mobile app called, ‘Discardious’, to tackle waste disposal challenge in Nigeria.
Mrs Martha Alade confirmed that Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a former member of the Nigeria Federal House of Representatives, who is now the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora matters supported the first Nigerian Team to the US where they emerged top 10 globally.
The founder of Women in Technology in Nigeria (WITIN), Martha Alade has perfected plans to honor the golden girls with gift items on their return to Nigeria.