Excitement, energy, vibrance and creativity are suitable words to describe these IT college girls of Cameroon origin all striving to beat the technovation records with innovative apps that will compete for the global trophy. Technovation is a global program, but it’s also a global community, with volunteers, ambassadors, and teams all over the world sharing updates, asking and answering questions, and offering bottomless support and encouragement. Following international standards, the college girls connected with Technovation participants all over the world to share their IT entrepreneurial ideas with those who know Technovation best. Technovation’s success in changing girls’ attitudes about technology and entrepreneurship relies on local volunteers like myself who happen to develop interest in empowering and uplifting the girls for tomorrow's challenges. Contacted by Cameroon's representative Beatrice KEPSEU to be a member of the jury, I immediately recommended another to facilitate the IT experience.
In Douala, Volunteer Coaches recruited teams of girls to work with female mentors. Together, they came up with an app idea, conducted user research, created a business plan, and built the app prototype. 13 teams were selected from the out numerous submissions and their presentations were electrifying with unique innovations to satisfy the health, social, cookery and peace needs of World citizens. As a blogger, Leader and addicted user of the IT gadgets and services, I had the competence to judge the technology and business submissions of all 13 contestants and provide feedback to the teams. The regional pitch event of technovation challenge Cameroon was such an interesting and enriching experience that did not only enable the girls to come out of their traditional shelves but its impact on me, those present and the future of our communities breaks all boundaries and transcends conventions. Every year technovation, (a program of Iridescent, a 501c3 nonprofit that helps scientists, engineers and technology professionals to share their passion with children from underrepresented groups) challenges girls Between 10 and 19 years all over the world to build a mobile app that will address a community problem and the team with the best app wins a cash prize of 10.000 USD in seed funding to help them launch their app.
This program has over the years changed the attitude of girls about technology and entrepreneurship. Beatrice Kepseu the regional ambassador of Technovation in Cameroon,
a 2014 finalist herself was inspired by this and brought it back home. After a very successful participation in 2015, she did not relent her efforts this year. I was part of those who witnessed the quarter finals and the presentations made by the several teams who submitted their projects. While having the difficult task alongside the other judges of evaluating if the apps were a solution to a community problem and marketable, I was overjoyed by the hope I could perceive in our future because of these young girls who are being awakened to their potential as women and contribution to their communities using technology. Not so long ago technical education was one field cultural barriers had brandished as male domains and no go areas for women. Today technovation and several other projects have opened up this world to young girls and the female fold. Amongst the several mobile apps pitched, these young girls sought to solve terrorism, theft, juvenile delinquency, insecurity, abuse, pregnancy risks etc.
I left the Challenge site more than ever committed, dedicated, Passionate and engaged to guide others to knowledge so that they will definitely grow to impact and bring change to our communities. It is true investing in the education of our girls is a long-term and sustainable investment, but our inherent multitasking abilities as women, is one that can contribute to comprehensive and whole inventions. It takes a woman to think through to the least detail. Leaders of tomorrow must be nurtured today if we want to have a better world. Creativity is dependent on opportunities and it is our responsibility as leaders, mentors, coaches, models to create these opportunities and platforms for our daughters and sisters.
Technovation is a technical transition for young girls willing to create and innovate for an extraordinary passionate and purposeful life!