A Kenyan high school – Kisumu Girls High School – will be represented at the August 7th Global Technovation summit in San Francisco, US. This development comes after five girls from the high school created an innovative anti-FGM app that captured the attentions of the international tech community.
The five girls; Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Macrine Atieno, Stacy Owino, and Ivy Akinyi are set to travel to represent Kisumu Girls High in San Francisco come August. They will effectively play role models for other Kenyan and African girls in tech, who are at various early stages of their careers in STEM.
The five young women also stand a chance to fly back home with a total of Ksh. 1.5 million, should they outcompete other teams from other world regions attending the competition.
The anti-FGM app the 5 girls created
The five girls appeared on the radar of the international technovation summit after they created the iCUT app. An app geared towards discouraging and stopping Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). An archaic girl circumcision practice that leaves them predisposed to maternal complications and reduced libido among other health problems.
The iCUT app is tailored to reach out to girls coming from Kenyan communities that traditionally practice the act and those who are at risk of being affected.
“Despite the vigorous anti-FGM campaigns by both State and non-governmental organizations, many people still ignore its effects,” says Purity Achieng.
iCUT has a platform where affected individuals and those at risks of undergoing the act can connect, share, protect each other and have a support group. The app also connects girls to a health center where they can get help tailored to addressing FGM cases and fighting the act.
The platform has incorporated mobile money M-Pesa pay bill system, through which well-wisher can send financial support to affected girls. An act that will go a long way in making lives of the affected girls a lot easier.
Dorcas Owino – the regional Technovation Ambassador – explains that the competition took girls from various schools and took the through a 12-week training between Jan-March this year. During the training course, the girls identified problems in their socio-economic environment and had to come up with a business plan to address it. They then presented their proposals before a panel of judges.
“The participants were required to point out problems they wanted to address using a mobile app. This was done with the assistance of a mentor,” said Dorcas Owino.