The Nigerian Women Techsters Initiative is an experiential learning program by Tech4Dev and funded by Microsoft in partnership with of the Office of theFirst Lady and the Ministry of Women Affairs. Looking to train 2400 women across 12 states in Nigeria, Tech4Dev aims to build digital literacy especially coding and analytical skills in young women. The initiative (which will run for 12 weeks in each state) exposes women to available employment and entrepreneurship opportunities within the technology space. Young women between the ages of 18 – 40 across 12 states in Nigeria namely; Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Imo, Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Kogi, Kwara, Kano, Kebbi, and Taraba states will be given the opportunity to learn Information & Communication Technology skills and techniques with the focus on bridging the digital gap between male and female persons within the Nigerian technology ecosystem.
The initiative aims to increase the number of young women who are actively involved in STEM fields by helping them choose a career in technology. This will ensure that the knowledge gap is bridged in underserved communities resulting in healthy enterprises capable of improving the national GDP over the next 3 years.
Tech4dev is a non-profit social enterprise that helps to solve the world’s greatest problems using technology with primary focus on primary health, education and civic engagement.
The training would involve both online and offline sessions. The online training will be done within the week with the trainees taking courses on business modules while the offline training will have seasoned facilitators physically take the trainees through the curriculums for the three tracks namely; Web and Mobile Application Development, Games Development and Embedded Systems; periodically once a week over a 12 weeks period.
At the end of the 12 weeks program in each state, other side events will also take place which includes; a Hackathon, a Demo Day and an Open Workshop.
The African Girls in Science and Technology Initiative (Afro-Tech Girls) organised a three day Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Summer Camp on Renewable Energy, Coding and Robotics for girls in Secondary Schools.
This initiative is one of Afro-Tech Girls programmes established to empower girls through STEM education and increase participation of African girls in STEM. The event took place from Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th of August 2017 at the Greenwood House School, Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.
The summer camp began with an introductory lecture on Renewable Energy with a focus on solar energy and sizing solar power systems. The girls were taken through a practical session on the process of installing a solar panel with an Inverter, and given the stepwise process of connecting the battery, charge controller, and light bulb to generate electricity. The session was very interactive as the girls demonstrated their skills during the installation process and were able to successfully test the solar electricity generated using a bulb and a mobile phone.
The day continued with a chat session with Ms. Yewande Odumosu, a project manager by profession. She encouraged the girls to follow their dream paths and become whatever they want to be in life. She also urged them not to be discouraged as they face setbacks in their daily activities.
The second day of the STEM summer camp evolved into a training on “Coding” from WAAW Foundation. The First session was taken by Ms. Susan Ofeimun. She taught the girls how to program using the “Arduino software”. The girls were able to connect the arduino board and also tell the board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the micro controller. The arduino boards are able to read inputs like lights on sensor – a finger on a button is converted into an output by activating a motor or switching on a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) followed by publishing the result online. Mr. Jonah Onah took the second session. He lectured the girls on the basis of using a “Scratch” to create interactive stories, animations and games. This session was very educative as the girls enjoyed every step of the session.
The camp followed up with an interactive session with Mrs. Foluso Gbadamosi, co-founder 8191 solutions, which encouraged the girls to think outside the box and be innovative with problem solving in their daily lives. During the chat session, a question and answer session was held, and prizes were given by Mrs. Gbadamosi, to girls who were able to explore their Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to solve problems and creatively proffered solutions to everyday life challenges in the areas of science and technology. The winners were Omodara Bali and Oyindamola Willoughby.
The final day was superlative as it climaxed with highly educative, fun-filled and capacity building activities. The young girls were taken through trainings on Robotics from Dhack Institute. The girls were taught the basics of robotics. A practical session was also conducted to show how to connect a robot, to view its response to sound and light. Also, a programming session was done to teach the girls how to move the robot based on the time that was set using a computer. It was a fun filled day as the girls learnt how to fly drones.
The Managing Director, Uber Nigeria, Mrs. Maria Rotilu sparked up the atmosphere by sharing her experience with technology and encouraged them to be self-confident and not to see situations as difficult but rather, as an interesting challenge. She believes that technology is not meant for only the male gender, but for all genders. She added that more girls must be encouraged to participate in science and technology in order to create a better world for humanity.
Also present at the camp to motivate the young girls was Mrs. Tolu Owokade, an engineer at Main One Cable Company. She inspired, motivated and educated the young girls on the qualities of a leader and the need for women to get into the role where they can speak and lead to make impact in the society. Ms. Glory Edozien, founder Inspired by Glory Academy, facilitated the last chat session of the camp. She taught the young girls presentation skills and methods on how to be to be self-confident.
The camp rounded off with group pictures taken with the girls, co- founders of Afro-Tech Girls and volunteers. Certificates of participation were also given to all STEM Summer Camp participants.
We would like to say a big thank you to our partners and sponsors of this event; Mrs. Ekua Abudu of Greenwood House School, Ikoyi, Alpha and Jam Nigeria, Dhack Institute, Mrs. Foluso Gbadamosi, Mrs Maria Rotilu, Ms. Yewande Odumosu, Mrs. Yewande Olagbende of Energy Academy Limited, Mr. Gbonjusola Akingbade, Mr. Olumide Doherty, Ms. Glory Edozien of Inspired by Glory Academy, Mrs Tolu Owokade, Ms. Osheho Toweh, WAAW Foundation, Instabooth Studios and Firewood Rice Limited.