Young people across Africa are driving the various technological advancements being witnessed on the continent. Five high school girls aged 15 to 17 from Kisumu, a city in western Kenya created an app, I-cut to end female genital mutilation (FGM).
The girls come from a community, Luos, where FGM is not practiced but they have had friends who have been affected by the practice.
The girls’ remarkable innovation is evidence that the continent’s future is in good hands.
The girls will be going to California in the U.S. to participate in this year’s international Technovation competition where they hope to win $15,000.
Every year, Technovation invites teams of girls aged 10 to 18 from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. Technovation offers girls around the world the opportunity to learn the necessary skills to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders.
The girls learn to identify a problem in their community and create a mobile app solution to address that problem, and then learn how to communicate these ideas and translate them into a fully launched business.
Girls work in teams to build both a mobile app and a business plan to launch that app, supported by mentors and guided by Technovation’s curriculum.
In a conversation with Reuters one of the girls, Stacy Owino said, “FGM is a big problem affecting girls worldwide and it is a problem we want to solve.”
According to Thomson Reuters Foundation the five girls call themselves the ‘Restorers’ because they want to “restore hope to hopeless girls”, said Synthia Otieno, one of the team.
The competition takes place from the 7th to the 11th of August.
Owino further said, “This whole experience will change our lives. Whether we win or not, our perspective of the world and the possibilities it has will change for the better.”
I-cut connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue centres and gives legal and medical help to those who have been cut.
Its simple interface has five buttons – help, rescue, report, information on FGM, donate and feedback – offering users different services.