All-girls BrainSquard team wins regional Technovation Challenge 

All-girls BrainSquard team wins regional Technovation Challenge 

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Riding on the win of the Junior Division Global 2018 Technovation Challenge by Nigeria, another team of young Nigerian girls have won the 2019 Regional Technovation Challenge.

The all-girls team from Standard Bearers School (SBS) Lekki, Lagos, won the Zonal Pitch of the challenge held at the Lagos Business School (LBS), which is taking them into the semi-final round.

The girls, aged 10 -11 years, who were called BrainSquad team include; Ivana Mordi, Munachi Chigbo, Jadesola Kassim, Ayomikun Ariyo and Pandora Onyedire. After research, the team came up with an idea of building a fund-raising app called Handsout to help less privileged children go to school and get a good education. Their studies showed that over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria, with problems mainly from poverty. The inspiration behind creating Handsout was the collapse of a school at Itafaji, Lagos and also the viral online news of Success Adegho who was sent out of school because her parents could not pay her school fees.

BrainSquad won and is now waiting for the final selection of teams in Africa as the judges in Silicon Valley decide which teams will go on to represent the continent at the finals later this year. While they are waiting, they have used the time to improve on their app following the judges’ advice, to finalize the launch of Handsout.

“The aim of Handsout is to create a way for organisations, friends and well-meaning people all over the world to donate funds for the school fees of less privileged Nigerian children who desire to go to school but cannot afford to. People who want to support by giving things like school shoes, school bags, stationery and library books are welcome and can do so through the app, which our team developed,” Munachi Chigbo and Jadesola Kassim, BrainSquad team leaders stated.

Modupe Adeyinka-Oni, proprietress, SBS, said, “We are very pleased our pupils have been able to win the Zonal Pitch and are encouraged with the process so far seeing that it is in line with our School’s philosophy of embracing 21st century learning with technology being the cornerstone. The children have shown that they can stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers worldwide and tackle global problems heads on, an integral trait for developing the leaders of tomorrow, which we lay emphasis on in SBS.

The Nigerian 2018 winners in the Junior category called Team ‘Save-A-Soul” developed a mobile application called ‘FD Detector’ to tackle the problem of fake drugs in the country. They are also a beacon of hope and encouragement to our team ‘BrainSquad’ and together, show the world that Africa has the best and brightest. The FD Detector team was selected from over 2,000 mobile app developers to represent Africa at the world pitch.

According to the proprietress, BrainSquad is partnering with Stanbic IBTC Bank Trustees to open a trust to handle all cash donations and are looking to partner with organisations and foundations to select the recipients and logistic companies to assist with transportation of any non-cash donations to designated communities. She explained further that Handsout is a hub for children by children where donors’ funds can be directed to the children who need it, using charities like International Women’s Society (IWS) and Slum2School. Credible NGOs who work directly with children and orphanages around Nigeria are expected to apply on behalf of the children so people who need the funds are reached.

Handsout will be available shortly on Google play store to be downloaded for free and the process to sync the app with the bank’s account to enable it receive funds is on going.

“It is estimated that if only 100,000 people donate a minimum of N1,000 every month, they will get a great deal of children off the streets and back in schools”, she said.

The plan is to support children in primary and secondary schools across Nigeria and have capped the maximum scholarship at N50,000 per term. This could be less, depending on the average fees obtainable in each region.

The Technovation Challenge, which is sponsored by Microsoft, encourages girls to develop apps that will solve global problems through technology.


Jumoke Akiyode-Lawanson

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