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At the just concluded Global Technovation Challenge 2015 held in San Francisco, USA. The Nigerian girls have done the African continent and Nigeria proud; by emerging the winners of the pitch competition, with their Discardious app competing as the Charis Team. The competition featured young girls from around the world aged between 10 to 18 years old. The contestants were tasked to come up with a mobile app that solve a challenge faced by their community and submit it in the elementary or high school category.

The Charis team made up of Grace Akpoiroro, Sonam Kumar, Praise David-Oku, Charlotte Takem and Nmesoma Ogbonna all from the Cross River State, Nigeria. Went up in competition against participants from 64 countries pitching a total of 380 different apps and emerged the winner with their Discardious app. The Charis team’s app aims at tackling health related problems in Nigeria that results from the improper disposal of waste.

David-Oku, speaking on behalf of her team said the competition has completely changed how they view technology.

It has given our team a platform to use technology to solve problems in our community. It has also motivated us to think outside the box. It has boosted my self-confidence and helped me build new relationships and networking skills. I have met new people from different parts of the world and shared ideas. It has also made me realize that I am not too young to start achieving my goals.

Another team member, Kumar said: “It was wonderful, tough and very competitive. It was challenging for us, as we met and listened to people from different parts of the world tell their stories and share their powerful ideas. Above all, we learned a lot of things about coding, networking, and public speaking.”

The Discardious app called upon the parents to enroll their girls in STEM education programs from an early age. Also to provide them the necessary tech gadgets at home, encourage them to participate in tech competitions and spark within them the interest to pursue STEM careers.

In unison, the Discardious app team said, “We are going to empower, build and guide young girls to participate in the next Technovation competition. We will launch our app and work on our project to solve pressing challenges in Nigeria. Technovation in Nigeria has come to stay for good.”

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