Golden Nigerian Girls Shine at Global Technovation Challenge

Golden Nigerian Girls Shine at Global Technovation Challenge
3 min read

On the 10th of August 2018, at the Technovation World Challenge in Silicon Valley, USA, it was announced that team Save A Soul of five Nigerian girls in secondary school won the Junior Gold Award, emerging above other junior teams of girls from countries around the world including the USA, Spain, Turkey, Uzbekistan and China. Save A Soul has made Nigeria as well as all of Africa proud with this achievement.

The annual Technovation challenge is organised by Iridescent, a non-profit organisation that inspires and empowers underrepresented people, with focus on girls between the ages of 10 and 18 to be STEM innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders by teaching them the skills needed such as programming to excel in their chosen fields.

The aim of the challenge was to pitch an idea for an Android application that solves a real-world problem identified in the community of each team. The girls who take part in the competition are supported with resources and mentorship required to produce the desired outcome.

Save A Soul receiving the gold award (Image source: twitter.com/profosinbajo)

In order to reach the final stage after succeeding in the regional qualifiers held in Abuja, Nigeria, the application had to be chosen out of over 2000 applications. At the final stage involving only 12 teams, several brilliant concepts were shared including “Stop It” by a Spanish team which aims to alleviate gender violence by sensing aggression and contacting a local emergency number.

Team Save A Soul pitched “FD Detector” (Fake Drug Detector), an app that they developed to be used for the detection of fake pharmaceutical products, an issue running rampant in many countries. FD Detector works by scanning the barcodes on drugs to determine their authenticity and verify their expiration date. This will prevent several lives being lost due to the consumption of fake drugs.

Their school was able to support them for 5 months as they carried out research and developed the app. F-D Detector was awarded an incredible $12,000 in scholarships. In order to ensure that the app goes mainstream, the team are collaborating with the Nigerian National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The team, now fondly known as the “Golden Girls” consists of Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye, all in junior secondary, from Anambra State, in the South-East of Nigeria. They were mentored by Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu, the founder of Edufun Technik STEM centre, an organisation that organises schemes such as Robotics workshops for children in low-income areas of Nigeria to learn about STEM. A female mentor for this all-girls achieving great feats to save lives in the country and potentially the world as a whole is truly inspiring news for other young ladies who have an interest in STEM.

“Leveraging technology to save lives is our utmost priority, that is why we have decided to maximize this opportunity to solve the incessant rate of death caused by fake drugs.” – Team Save A Soul

“Leveraging technology to save lives” is a phrase that summarises the joint aim of the work of thousands of people around the world who partake in STEM careers and research. This common goal can be attainable regardless of gender or even age as shown by these incredible ladies.

Ayobami is a chemical engineering student who has the ambition to contribute in changing the major world fuel source from fossil fuels to biofuels, as well as improving Nigeria’s energy and pharmaceutical sectors.