"Inspiring girls to Imagine and Create in rural communities"
I am excited to share my personal experience working for two years on Technovation Challenge in my community, located in Bamenda the North West Region of Cameroon. Working as a Regional Ambassador has been very challenging especially during the first year. Given that women are the most influential agents of change in my community, I have come to realize that girls have the zeal and talent to do groundbreaking things, but they lack information and opportunities required. I have worked in 8 secondary and 4 primary schools where I raised awareness and curiosity in major town. In this part of Cameroon most schools have no computer labs and programming is still a new concept, more so, the concept of mentorship is not well known.
This work enabled me to discover a lot of gaps, which I intend to contribute in filling to make the world a better place by facing the twenty first century challenges. I understand better what mentorship, volunteerism, networking and entrepreneurship is all about. Students especially girls have capacity and passion to imagine and create but they are not informed about latest technology innovations because they lack exposure to training equipment and as a result they do not opt for STEM as a career. Presently the girls that are participating in Technovation Challenge are very enthusiastic and eager to learn more. But they have limited exposure and knowledge to access hand-on training in computer sciences, especially programming.
Initially, I had no coding experience but was compelled to learn programming, during the 3 months training program I had, working with about 25 teams of secondary girls, including 10 volunteers who served as coaches andmentors. Together, weseekedinnovative ideas to solve problems in our own community and finally builtmobile apps for an android phone using MIT App Inventor that addressed issues in our different communities. The Technovation Challenge has inspired me to start an after school and holiday digital literacy program for girls in Bamenda. This is a new project that I started after submission of projects in April 2016. This project will enable girls and young women to develop a passion for Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths (STEM) by valorizing their competences, igniting their ideas and empowering their actions in computer sciences especially software development. My dream is to create sustainable and accessible technology-based solutions for undeserved communities and to contribute in eliminating gender disparity in schools by facilitating and increasing women’s access to information and education especially software development.
My sincere gratitude goes to Technovation and Techwomen for this great and amazing opportunity to become a change agent and leader in my community most especially with the accomplishment of having a team succeed to the semi-finals stage in the 2016 Technovation World Competition.We are super excited to see what the girls have developed. Mobile apps that solve an issue!!!This year will be greater. I look forward to reducing deviations of girls in STEM, increasing their focus and interaction with Tech Tools, increasing the number of women in the Tech work force and reducing the discrimination that girls face in the scientific domain which is male dominated field. I would like them to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities and possibilities the STEM fields offers.