In a bid to accelerate female participation in Innovation, Science, Technology and the Technovation Challenge, the doors to the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) opened to all participants who joined the network for the RAN4Girls movie night. This was during the hot evening of Friday March 112016 at the Eastern African Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RI Lab).
The RAN team, students and the community joined in to watch and later discuss about an inspirational and developmental movie, “Desert Flower”. This is a story about a woman from a nomadic pastoralist background in Somalia, who fled from the clutches of an early marriage, crossed a desert to a new life in the West where she attained the career of a fashion model and later changed the world by standing up against female genital mutilation as the United Nations Human Rights Ambassador. The participants drew several insightful lessons from the movie including; benefits of remaining resilient in all circumstances , belief in oneself, the importance of hard work and the ability to inspire others through what we engage in or life undertakings among others.
To kick start the Movie Night activities, an insight in form of a short video on the Technovation Challenge 2016 was shared. This video features Sheila Agaba, the EA RI Lab Technical Officer and Eva Muhanguzi, Team Leader of the Women Passion Program (WOPA). The video highlights opportunities offered by the challenge. The Technovation Challenge gives an opportunity to young ladies to develop solutions to address communities’ most pressing challenges. These ideas/innovations are solicited from different disciplines ranging from Health, Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, Education and ICT among others. All ideas are welcome!
To physically set the ball rolling, Harriet Adong, RAN’s Communications Manager shared an overview of RAN and interested the Movie Night participants in the opportunities RAN is currently offering including; the Resilience Innovation Challenge 4 Conflict (RIC4CONF) Grants call and the ten weeks Internship opportunity. “There are several opportunities not only from RAN but also from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) that you can all benefit from. All these are shared on the RAN Website accessed at www.ranlab.org and all the Social Media Platforms. Just Google ResilientAfrica Network for ease of access” Harriet added.
The Movie Night participants being different from those in other Movie Theaters immediately after the Movie, engaged in a discussion to share lessons learnt. Among the lessons shared were the following;
- That is important that we always take keen note of our cultural beliefs and endeavor to #Innovate around that.
- An individual, once determined can make it work against all odds #Resilience
- The community challenges are within the communities themselves, we know and understand then better. There is therefore great need for all of us to join in and innovate to address these communities’ challenges. We are the best source of the innovative solutions.
- Women have the power to empower each other, the women just need a little pat and push on their backs to get moving. Encouragement and Motivation go a long way in getting the females up and about for commendable output
- We should share our problems and innovative solutions so that we build them together
- Let us offer the opportunity for and encourage ladies to be a part of the innovation process
- Women should get out of the comfort zone and take on challenges, especially those related to and concerning the women themselves
- Humanity should avoid inferiority complex, do not let your neighbors kill your self-esteem, get role models and mentors to closely work with
- We need to break gender inequality and recognize women’s goals and efforts worldwide.
RAN4Gals, an innovation in itself is an initiative by the Makerere University School of Public Health- ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) to encourage more female participation in developing resilience innovations (improve female involvement in Science, Technology and Innovation) in an effort to respond to communities’ most pressing challenges. RAN4Gals participants benefit from opportunities including; capacity building in courses like Design Thinking, Need finding, Business Modeling and pitching among others. They also receive technical support and guidance (Mentorship and Business Coaching to push their ideas or projects forward). This support is offered through; Bar Camps, Ignite Innovator Series, and Girl Rising Movie Nights in partnership with the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) and Technovation Challenge (Global) Team.