A community waste disposal app has won five Nigerian teenage girls the Technovation international app challenge, beating 10 other girl teams from different countries and walking away with a $10 000 (around R120 000) cash prize.
Praise David-Oku, Sonam Kumar, Nmesoma Ogbonna, Charlotte Takem and Grace Akpoiroro, from Cross River State, make up Team Charis and recently competed in the competition which challenges girls from the ages of 10 to 18 to build a mobile app that will address a community problem and submit it in the elementary or high school category.
“We first met in high school as classmates and met again at the iKapture Afterschool Academy where we decided to take up the challenge of programming for the first time. Despite our diverse backgrounds, we have dedicated ourselves to doing this project because of our collective interest in creating positive change in our communities,” the team’s blog reads.
Team Charis used the MIT App Inventor platform to create the Discardious Android app and entered the high school category in the regional leg of the competition back in February this year.
Discardious aims to tackle the health issues many Nigerians face as a result of improper waste disposal.
“It allows people in our community to discard waste effectively and at a low cost. It also serves as an avenue for people to lay complaints, ask and answer questions concerning waste. In future, we also hope to serve as a platform to enlighten people on waste generation and how it can be handled,” said Takem said in a video.
A resident can arrange for large amounts of waste to be collected from their home or business by a Discardious bicycle cart at a cost that’s cheaper than the average charged by most Nigerian waste removal companies.
A total of 380 apps were submitted from around the world, after which ten teams were chosen to send a video pitch of their app and take part in mentoring and networking sessions in their respective countries.
The finals were held at the Technovation World Pitch 2015 event in San Francisco, USA.
“This is the first time a Nigerian team would come first globally in Technovation World Pitch,” said Founder of Women In Technology In Nigeria (WITIN) and coordinator of the Technovation program in Nigeria, Martha Alade.
“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,” Kumar commented on Team Charis’ experience.