A few months ago, Akili Dada in partnership with Safaricom Women in Technology launched the Technovation Challenge. Technovation Challenge is a global technology entrepreneur program and competition for young women between the ages of 10 and 23. It aims to encourage young women to design and create mobile apps then pitch their business start-ups to investors. The 12-week curriculum addresses different parts of creating, marketing and pitching the mobile app. Despite it being a business project, the app to be created should also address a particular theme. The Technovation theme this year is “Solve a problem in your community”. Therefore to qualify for this competition the app idea should address a problem in society in the following three areas;
An app that helps a local organization in your communityAn app that helps solve teen issues e.g. peer pressure, teen pregnancy etc.An app that helps address women issues such as domestic violence, eating disorders etc.
At the beginning of the competition, schools were selected in each county in Kenya and different [OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA] mentors who volunteered were posted to the schools. Under Akili Dada we had the following schools:
Mary Hill Girls High SchoolLoreto Limuru Girls High SchoolPrecious Blood Girls Secondary SchoolAlliance Girls High SchoolMoonlight School Centre
Before the mentors started guiding the high school students on how to create the apps, they underwent an intensive training on the use of MIT App Inventor 2 which was to be used to create the apps.
Overall, the program was a huge success. The mentors together and students worked together to complete the Technovation 12-week curriculum to create their apps to address issues in our communities. Here are examples of the applications that were designed:
Booze Buzzer was created to address the problem of drunk driving in the Kenya. The app is designed as a game where the potential driver has to react to a dot that moves across the screen. If the drives fails the game, the phone buzzes and the car will not start.
Parklink is an app designed to address the problem of locating parking spaces, which costs both time and fuel. The app is programmed such that it shows the driver all the available parking spaces in the different parking lots.
[tech_post_1] During the course of the competition, we also ran into some challenges. One of the primary issues was internet access in the schools, which impacted our ability to complete some of the tasks at hand.
The Technovation Challenge was a great introduction to technology for participants, and has given Akili Dada valuable insight into tech-related programming as well.