Youth For Innovation Trust celebrated girls in ICT in an event dubbed Technovation Challenge celebrations held in Bulawayo at the small city hall this Friday. This year’s celebrations were run under the theme ‘she believed, she could so, she did’.
Part of the celebrations was the ministry of ICT and postal courier services, ministry of Youth , Arts sports and Recreation and Ministry of Women Gender Affairs. Also in attendance was the Bulawayo Central Member of Parliament Hon Nicola Watson.
The guest Speaker for this year’s celebration was His worship the Mayor of Bulawayo Clnr Solomon Mguni. Giving a speech on his behalf Clnr Mildred Ncube emphasized how the Bulawayo City Council has been over the years supporting initiatives focusing on girl empowerment. ‘The council recognizes this programme as a community building initiative that fosters economic, social and political empowerment of young people through social innovation’ said Clnr Ncube.
‘The city of Bulawayo is a centre of excellence for gender mainstreaming in local government since 2011, it is under this program that the council seeks to see the SADC protocol on gender development’ she added. Giving welcoming remarks the regional ambassador for the Technovation Challenge Thando Gwinji highlighted the need for the community to embrace technology and she encouraged young girls to take part in such initiatives as they seek to bring about community development. ‘ This is a great opportunity for young girls to be part of the community solutions and bring about the change we need as a society, girls can do it and we are the change the country needs, let us take part in technological initiatives such as the Technovation challenge’ she said.
Technovation Challenge is a global tech entrepreneurship competition for young girls’ .It is coordinated in Zimbabwe by Youth For Innovation Trust. The program offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leadership. Every year Technovation challenge 10 to 18 years to build a business plan and mobile app that will address a community problem. Since 2009, over 15000 girls have participated from over 100 countries.
Some of the schools which participated in this year’s challenge include Cowdray Park Secondary, Nkulumane High School, Luveve High school, Mandwandwe High school , Girls College , St Columbus , Faith Christian College, and Hamilton High School. Over 8 teams pitched at this year’s Technovation challenge and some of the presentations from the teams which took part include a mobile app called KSC from the Tech Teens. The application is designed at helping children of the ages 2- 6 years in learning early childhood development skills such as the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors. Animals. This application was inspired by the need to cater for the young children doing their early childhood learning. Another application from Nkulumane High Tech Globalizers focuses on giving updates to people in particular parents to have more information with regards to everyday running of the schools. The app provides online school fees payment, online newsletters, it also provides 24/7 access to any information and automatically deletes past information to supply space for future references or information.
Another team called Izintombi Zodwa created an application that seeks to share cultural games that were done during the heyday and this preserves the culture and teaches young girls the lessons and stories of yesteryear.
The winners of this year’s challenge for the senior team were the Tech Teens coming from Luveve High School, Wheels of Change from Girls College came second and the Tech Fantastic 5 occupied the 3rd place coming from Cowdray Park Secondary. The winning teams walked away with a shield as well as school packs.