By Prisca Pfunye
The 2019 Technovation challenge in Zimbabwe continues to raise awareness on the need to bring girls up to speed with their male counterparts when it comes to their active participation in coding. Through the process there is an important group of people who are key to the girls’ success in the challenge and these are people who held their hand through it all and mentored them.
The YIT media team managed to talk to few first time mentors who were able to work with the girls on their experiences in this process. MS Msipa Margaret from Cowdray Park Secondary, views Technovation challenge as an eye opener into the ICT world. Msipa and her girls where participating in the Technovation Challenge for the first time and they had to navigate through a number of challenges ranging from failing to align schedules, lack of proper equipment to make and test the app. ‘’I applaud the Hackathon held in the midst of the challenge because I noted that girls were so inspired and being in a different environment motivates them.’’
She was also impressed at the regular Technovation Mentor meetings held at the NUST-American Space that taught them to be taught how to code on their own. Msipa says she enjoyed every minute of the Technovation Challenge as the YIT team also very helpful as they were able to respond in time when ever mentors appealed to them for assistance.
MS Befura Gracious from Hamilton High SCHOOL , also views Technovation Challenge as an eye opener and unique project. Her teams persevered through a lot of hardships that include electricity load shedding and internet challenges which made it difficult for the kids to keep up their energy. Befura had quite a number of girls that ended up dropping out during the challenge and is geared to make improvements on the way Hamilton conducts the challenge in the coming season. She was so impressed by the team work and capacity to conduct the Technovation Challenge at such a big scale in 2019.
Ms Sehliselwe Ncube mentored at team of Granduer College in Sizinda and she acknowledges that the Technovation Challenge is an opportunity for both the girls and mentors a chance to learn more about coding. Initially Ms Ncube as a mentor was new to the idea of coding and her girls had no idea of how to use a computer was also another big challenge and so they had had to start from zero with everything working with limited time and no internet asses. Nonetheless, they had to commute to YIT offices and took weekends out to work and finally complete their other applications and deliverables. She and her team are looking forward to expanding on the skills gained during the Technovation Challenge as # GirlsforChange.