DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Trust has announced the 2016/17 winners of its Miss.Africa Seed Funding for STEM Programs.
The three winners were announced on this year’s Africa day, marked on May 25th, and include: Abo Coders from Nigeria who took away the grand prize ofUS $5000 while Bahir Dar University STEM Center from Ethiopia and Ubongo Game Lab from Zambia both emerged runners-up, each taking US $1,000.
(TOP: A screenshot of Abocoders homepage. BELOW: Bahir Dar University STEM Center and Ubongo Game Lab).
The teams won in the Geographic / Country Category which recognises initiatives that create socio-economic value for women by effectively leveraging tech opportunities.
“In 2016 during the Women’s History Month, Miss.Africa announced its Iiaugural winners. This year, we are honored to announce our winners during the commemoration of the annual Africa Day, a celebration of the Continent and its people,” stated DCA in a statement.
The second round of Miss.Africa Seed Fund received over 200 applications from 24 countries across Africa.
Speaking at this special day for Africa, and milestone of Miss.Africa Second Seed Fund round, Sophia Bekele, founder of the Seed Fund congratulated the winners of the 2016/17 round saying: “The Miss.Africa Seed Fund supports diversity and creativity. We are very honored to be part of building the tech industry in Africa, particularly of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) value. Every effort counts.”
“To achieve the second round is a milestone for us and we are looking at the lessons we have learned through years to enhance and make the Miss.Africa Seed Fund more rewarding. We saw over 25 girls train to become mobile and web app developers and more others learning new programing language, as well as developing tech centers and training throughout Africa. This year we look forward to adding more into the system, because if she learns to code #SheTechsAfrica.”
Below are the 3 winners:
The Abocoders, Nigeria: The Abocoders initiative is located in the Northern Region of Nigeria. The startup headed by Ms. Simi Olusola, purposes to provide secure & sustainable livelihoods for young women in Northern Nigeria using ICT training with an emphasis on software development as a means of empowerment.
Ms. Olusola, the Abocoders program director said: “It represents opportunities of a better life for our beneficiaries. Working in an underserved region where things seem not to get any better can be a bit discouraging but we work always to retain the hope whose flames have been made brighter by this award.’Everyone at AboCoders is excited about receiving this award. We are excited not because of the money in itself but because of what the award represents.”
“At AboCoders, we count our success in lives and with this award we will be able to reach more lives and open more opportunities for them to get a better life. We are thankful to the Miss.Africa Seed Fund team for believing in our vision and choosing to support us this way. On behalf of all the young ladies that we serve and represent, we say thank you to the Miss.Africa Seed Fund!!!”
The Bahir Dar University STEM Center, Ethiopia: The Bahir Dar University STEM Center in Ethiopia seeks to provide a challenging learning environment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, which maximizes individual potential.This ensures that girls, are well-equipped and prepared to meet the challenges in the world around them.
Mr Berie Getie, the Director at the Bahir Dar STEM Incubation Center said: “There is Wisdom at the source of the Blue Nile.”
The Ubongo Game Lab, Zambia: The Ubongo Game Lab which is led by Ms. Sithembile Ncube is a community technology startup based in Lusaka Zambia, one of the fastest-developing cities in southern Africa with fast growing infrastructure sector. The Lab is focused in gaming technology and it’s use within Zambia. It trains women and girls on how to create games using basic programing languages. The Game Lab is mentored by Mr. Lukonga Lindunda, the co-founder and Executive Director of BongoHive, Zambia’s first and only Technology & Innovation Hub which houses the Ubongo Game Lab.
Ms. Ncube the Director of Ubongo Game Lab said: ”Ubongo Game Lab is pleased to announce that we have been selected to receive second prize for the 2016/2017 cycle of the Miss.Africa Seed Fund Program, an initiative by the DotConnectAfrica Trust, for our Games Plus Girls initiative.”
“This grant is one of many awards given to support women and girls in STEM fields to expand initiatives that will increase digital opportunities for women in IT related training, jobs and leadership roles. Through this grant and with the support of our local partners, we are anticipating significant growth for our next bootcamp and the events leading up to it.”
At 33%, Nigeria took the first place for most Miss.Africa seed fund applications submitted, Kenya was second with 11% while the third place was taken by Ghana at 9%. Others who followed closely were, Tanzania and Cameroon who took fourth place at 5%. South Africa, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe all tallied at 4% each for most applications submitted among others.
The third round of the Miss.Africa Seed Fund (2018) is expected to be announced in July 2017 and DCA Trust encourages more initiatives to look out for our call for applications.
The Miss.Africa digital program is a gender-focused initiative targeted mainly at female youth audiences in Africa to increase their personal involvement in early technology use and adoption with a view to improving their digital self-awareness and empowerment, and overall self-esteem.The “Miss.Africa” digital program is envisioned as one of the central pillars of DotConnectAfrica Trust’s corporate social responsibility program. It is aimed at attracting more young girls and women to the Internet platform to enable them form a sizable demographic of Internet users in Africa, thereby involving them in complementary gender development initiatives that improve the lives of young girls and women.
The Miss.Africa program led by the DCA Academy, announced the Seed Fund in Africa that will provide grants to support women and girls in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to launch or expand their own initiatives that will increase their digital opportunities in IT related training, jobs and leadership roles. The program is interested in learning about successful activities that are currently supporting women and girls in STEM, and through this effort, we identify how we might support scalability and their impacts.