On June 17 and 18, 2016, the RAN4Girls Technovation Challenge team visited Bweranyangi Girls Senior Secondary School, Bushenyi Uganda to train the Technovation Challenge participants in a hands-on session on how to use MIT App Inventor, a software system that provides an innovative beginner’s introduction to programming and mobile app creation. This was also an opportunity for the team to check on the different teams’ progress with developing their mobile application innovations.

On arrival, the mood was filled with sixes and sevens especially being the first time this school participated in any technology related competition. With the hectic schedules at the start of each term, majority of the innovator teams doubted their ability to complete the designs for their respective mobile phone applications and submit all the required deliverables before the Technovation Challenge final deadline of June 30, 2016.  This called for a lot of counselling and motivation to the girls among others.

This event brought together 52 participants allocated to 11 different innovative teams cutting across the school’s Ordinary and Advanced level sections. The ideas generated from the different participating teams were diverse, exciting and intriguing. It was also exciting to note that most teams had already successfully put together the deliverables necessary for their project submission including; a business plan and an application description (100 words) among others. The hands-on session was also an opportunity for the teams share some of the challenges faced during the mobile application creation process and to receive technical support on how to best address these challenges but also further develop their innovative solutions.

Sheila Agaba, the Technovation Team Lead pioneered the technical discussion together with colleagues Eva Muhanguzi from the WOUGNET Partnership for Women Passion Program and Mugisha Kwiringira, one of the Technovation Challenge Trainers. This was followed by a quick tutorial on how the teams could develop a login screen-the first tutorial on MIT App Inventor, delivered interactively to encourage the girls continue practicing what they were doing one step at a time. Such trainings and support are envisaged to remain continuous as we strive to impart in the girls a culture of creativeness and remaining relevant to their communities by developing innovative solutions to communities most pressing challenges.

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Additionally, the Technovation team had a chance to hold one on one sessions with each of the teams to gain a better understanding of the community challenges they were attempting to solve with their applications and also ensure good use of the available resources. At the end of the session, the girls were very excited and could not wait to make the right iterations and alterations to their projects. “My eyes have been opened, thank you so much, I have learnt a lot in these few days and cannot wait to win the Technovation National Challenge” said Sharon Busingye one the participants in the challenge.

Thank you Management of Bweranyangi Girls Senior Secondary School for the invitation, warm reception and for Ms. Patience Amanya, the Coach for encouraging and organizing the girls to take part in the challenge.

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A cross section of the girls in the Schools Computer Lab where this engagement took place.