On a Tuesday chilly morning, a group of four girls studying at APAPEK school in Rulindo district, dressed up in school uniform walked out of the school gate and boarded a bus heading to Kigali to participate in a complex competition.
The girls, both teenagers had been selected to take part in Ms. Geek Africa 2019. They have an interesting App that seeks to link farmers to the market.
Tesire Zaitun, Teta Marie Grace, Uwamwiza Kellia and Sifa Jolie Blandine had returned from school holiday last year when they were sharing stories about life in their different homes.
Sifa lives in remote Kamonyi district while her colleagues are all residents in Kigali. She has a daily interaction with farmers and whenever she meets her colleagues at school, they share various stories including farming.
These girls found the farming story very captivating but they noticed that if farmers would be connected through a single online platform, their products would easily find market.
These girls told Taarifa that they want to be very helpful to the local farmers.
According to the team, they noticed that planting and harvest periods are always the same throughout the country. However, they observed that some parts of the country may harvest more maize but the farmer may use their App to find out parts of the country where they don’t have maize and supply it there.
The four teenage girls agreed to assemble an APP and immediately started building it. However, midway they hit a wall and urgently needed money. Through their daily conversations at school and on their parents’ phones while in holidays learnt of Ms Geek.
“We got to know of the existence of Ms. Geek an initiative that inspires girls into Science, Engineering, Technology and math to contribute to solving the continent’s challenges using technology,” Tesire told Taarifa on the sidelines of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit.
“In January we also learnt that there was a competition being organized and they were calling upon applicants to submit their innovations. We sent in our App in March,” Tesire said.
The girls were later excited when their App was shortlisted for the competition that was held today at the Transform Africa Summit to which they attended.
However, this young team was surprisingly happy for not sailing through at the preliminary phase of their presentation. They said it was an extreme honour to be inside a hall to present their idea.
“We have noticed our weaknesses and are going to fix them. We have also learnt from other innovators on how to present a good proposal. But we promise to return here for the next Ms Geek and expect to win,” Teta said promising that her team will not lose hope.
Taarifa found these girls outside the Future Hub tent discussing how they would travel back to northern Rwanda.
“We are going to board a bus and travel all the way to Rulindo and get back to school,” a soft spoken Uwamwiza said but she looked seemingly unhappy with the team’s performance.
Uwamwiza said she would like President Paul Kagame to speak for them to get partnerships with ministries and also getting in touch with funders.