APPS AND GIRLS
Social inclusion Finalist
Apps and Girls is a Tanzanian an award-winning social enterprise that empowers girls to create the world they want to live in using technology. At Apps & Girls, we give girls the skills and a platform to become effective tech-entrepreneurs, including high-quality software and hardware programming. We focus on girls and young women from underprivileged backgrounds, in secondary school, university, or out-of-school, as our mission is to reduce the gender gap in ICT and empower more changemakers in Tanzania and across Africa.
Apps and Girls’ overarching objective is to invest in young women as potential tech entrepreneurs, tech creators, tech role models, and leaders, in Tanzania and across Sub-Saharan Africa. In order to achieve this goal, Apps and Girls is implementing an innovative cyclical process of advanced coding training, entrepreneurship training, mentorship, and incubation. The process itself harnesses the power of digital technologies, notably through the creation of coding clubs in secondary schools, an offline and online women’s tech entrepreneurship incubator and e-mentoring to match emerging
tech entrepreneurs with mentors.
At Apps and Girls, we believe that Tech is the reality of the future as we move deeper into the digital revolution, and entrepreneurship is a driving force. We work to break various barriers that hinder girls & young women in ICT such as a non-existent support system, lack of role models and prevailing gender stereotypes by providing the alternative, a supportive path into the field of ICT and a future in tech.
Our vision is to see women and girls empowered by ICT to be able to create the world they want to live in.
Give Girls the skills, tools, self-esteem and competitive edge to become effective leaders and driving change in their
communities using technology.
To achieve this mission, we focus on the following programs:
i) Quality Coding Training Program: Create coding clubs in public secondary schools where girls are taught coding weekly to get them inspired to enroll in STEM courses and be digitally literate to be able to develop their own digital projects/innovations and succeed in their careers.
ii) Events such as workshops, exhibitions, hackathons, Girls Code Camps, boot camps and the Girls Entrepreneurship
Summit for girls in secondary and high school in Tanzania to connect, learn and build innovations and solutions for
community problems as well as compete for prizes.
i) The Jovia program: Full sponsored Intensive Advanced IT and Entrepreneurship training for marginalized girls and young women to be able to participate in the formal employment sector, notably in ICT-related employment or be able to create their own tech-based enterprises in Tanzania and subsequently in other Sub-Saharan African countries thus elevating women’s socio-economic empowerment.
ii) The Ada program; Full sponsored Skills Development Programme (“SDP”) to train unemployed ICT Graduates to provide them with critical skills needed to reach their full Potential in the ICT sector. Through our partnership with ITHYNK company and Microsoft, the students also undergo a 3 months training by Microsoft certified course which gives them a high competitive edge for employability furthermore the participants are supported to create employment by launching their own tech-driven businesses.
iii)Provide Mentorship and Incubation (online & offline) to emerging young female TECH entrepreneurs (includes girls in secondary schools and out of school enrolled in the program) which includes access to indispensable resources (support for business plans, crowdfunding, access to potential investors/funders and mentoring) to support the successful launch and scale-up of their IT-based enterprises.
In Collaboration with W4 organization www.w4.org, we are creating a virtual incubator for girls and young women in Tanzania, Kenya, and DRC.
What impact has the initiative had or is expected to have?
Apps and Girls works broadly to develop girls’ and young women’s skills and confidence as well as specifically to empower girls to create tech-based business ideas. Apps and Girls have empowered over 3,188 girls with ICT and coding skills in web design and development, mobile app development and robotics Across our 24 coding clubs at secondary and high schools in Dar es Salaam.
The girls in our program have developed over 50 concrete tech-driven business ideas, 23 of which are being implemented. 8 of the projects have already received funding and won international and national competitions in New York, Finland, South Africa, and Tanzania. Our Protégées are now role models in the community, named fellows and GlobalTeens. See for example http://www.hudumasmart.co.tz/ , http://smartshamba.co.tz/, http://www.foodhub.co.tz/, http://www.fundipopote.co.tz/ www.ourcries.org, www.vitabushelf.com www.outpeak.org
The girls have gone beyond coding and creating software but to hardware and developing devices. Lisa 17 years is developing a soil pH device to help farmers improve their farming produce and skill. Empowering the girls in this way has led to both new services for other girls, a target group otherwise ignored, as well as products and services that benefit the whole country.
Girls and young women in Apps and girls have not only excelled in creating innovations but our interventions have also improved their academic performance in ICT and other STEM-related subjects. this has to lead to others to acquire full scholarships in prominent colleges and universities worldwide.
Our current plans:
Having witnessed such transformational change and the girls potential, We recently partnered with Tigo-Tanzania (the leading Telecommunication Company in Tanzania) to launch a “TECH IS FEMALE” movement to provide equal access to technology for all girls and young women aged 14 -24yrs in school and out of school across Tanzania, thus fueling their economic and digital empowerment to be digital champions in the ever-changing world of technology.
Furthermore, with our continued partnership with the US embassy in Dar es Salaam, we will scale the annual girls entrepreneurship summit http://girlsummit.africa/ (an annual tech entrepreneurship event and platform that gives Girls aged 13-19 years the opportunity to learn technology, innovate and create tech-driven innovations and showcase them to investors, customers and the public as they compete for awards and prizes) nationally and across East Africa region.
Ideas born during the Summit are incubated by Apps and girls for 6 months for them to take a lift.
What is unique about this initiative? Can it be scaled-up and replicated in other places?
Apps and Girls is implementing an innovative cyclical process of advanced coding training, entrepreneurship training, mentorship, and incubation. The process itself harnesses the power of digital technologies, notably through the creation of coding clubs in secondary schools, an offline and online women’s tech entrepreneurship incubator and e-mentoring to match emerging tech entrepreneurs with mentors.
Currently, we are working with W4 (World Wide Women’s Web) organization which runs ICT centers in Kenya (and DRC (Bukavu) where our model is being implemented for girls and young women. Together with W4, we are also creating an online incubator to support more emerging young women in Tanzania and across other countries on the African continent.
Furthermore, UNICEF has partnered with Apps and Girls to support the EYES4D program in Mbeya region where Apps and Girls’ curriculum will be used to provide capacity building to U-Reporters (who are out of school youth) participating in Eyes4D to effectively build their skills in IT and entrepreneurship and be able to run their own enterprises in their respective communities. The first Pilot will be done for 100 Adolescents and Young Adults in Mbeya city and Mbarali.
The initiative will also create a sustainable impact which will be a ripple effect in the community. Where Girls trained will Kajiado) eventually become Mentors and Impact drivers in their respective areas by mentoring other young girls and young women in and outside the program, Create tech-based businesses that will create employment opportunities/ get employed and elevate their family status/ situation. This has already been proved whereby Apps and girls alumni are currently running coding clubs in 24 secondary schools in Dar es Salaam where they provide weekly coding training and mentorship to fellow students enrolled in the coding clubs. Furthermore, alumni have played a great role in training other students at university level during the Girls in ICT Day in partnership with TCRA(Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority and During the Help to Help women Bootcamp in Dar es Salaam.
Apps and Girls also recently partnered with CAMFED organization in Tanzania, where Girls and young women in their network CAMA-CAMFED Alumnae will use our curriculum and content in secondary schools to teach ICT and entrepreneurship across the country-Tanzania.
We are looking at securing more partnerships or using existing infrastructure such as colleges, universities and community-based organizations to be able to create more platforms, spaces that support more beneficiaries.