As students across the country prepare to head back to school, a group of young Nigerian inventors are working to ensure children like them are afforded the same educational opportunities back home.
The girls — Ayo Ariyo, Muna Chigbo, Jade Kassim, Pandora Onyedire and Ivana Mordi — spent months building, developing and perfecting the code for their charitable donations app, a project that’s since earned them a spot in the finals of a global tech competition in Silicon Valley. The team of wiz kids beat out an estimated 19,000 teen girls for the top spot and are now set to pitch their brainchild, the “Hands Out” app, to the nation’s top leaders in tech.
Each year, Technovation Girls invites young female inventors from across the world to address real-world problems through technology. Participants are challenged to identify an issue in their community, then build a mobile app to solve it, all while learning to effectively brainstorm, ideate, research and launch a business/application of their own.
For the five girls from Lagos, who call themselves “The Brain Squad,” the primary education crisis in their native Nigeria has been at the forefront of their minds.
A July 2017 report by UNICEF states that the West African nation has the greatest number of children out of school in the world, with three-fourths of them never having the opportunity to set foot in a classroom. What’s worse, the majority are young, primary school-aged girls — a problem exacerbated by the violent terrorist group Boko Haram’s campaign against education in regions of northern Nigeria where they hold sway.
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