The innovator of the year award celebrates individuals as well as teams who have introduced game-changing initiatives, created research or inventions that have made an impact on the humanitarian aid and development sectors in Africa over the past year. The aim is to recognise individuals for their inspiring leadership, forward-thinking, creative problem-solving and implementation of innovative programmes that have helped drive Africa’s progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.
The award recognises equity, inclusion and poverty alleviation; with affordability, feasibility, and acceptability being key, as well as the impact among intended users.
Over 300 people and organisations were nominated and a shortlist of 20 finalists was released in January.
The winner, Apps and Girls Foundation, was awarded the 2018 Innovator of the Year Award at the 3rd Annual Aid & Development Africa Summit.
They were chosen because of their role in teaching girls technology and entrepreneurship skills and encouraging them to find digital solutions to the problems they face in their communities.
A Tanzanian registered social enterprise, Apps and Girls seek to bridge the tech gender gap by providing quality coding training (web programming, mobile app development game development and robotics) and entrepreneurship skills to girls in secondary schools via coding clubs, and to university level students at academic institutions.
Apps and Girls also organises holiday events such as hackathons, bootcamps, and competitions and provides internships opportunities. Apps and Girls provides high class mentorship (from local and international mentors) to girls to create tech startups, connect them with jobs and internships. They also offer a 3 year incubation to emerging young female TECH entrepreneurs and use the network to promote their work to customers, partners and potential funding opportunities.
Founder of Apps and Girls Foundation Carolyne Ekyarisiima commented:
“Today is one of the most best moments in my life, receiving the AIDF innovation of the year Award 2018 makes honoured and release how how much impact am creating in Africa. Many thanks to all those who nominated me especially my Husband and my students and all who have supported me, Apps and girls began in my living room with borrowed laptops and 20 students, but now we have empowered more than 1900 girls with coding skills and incubated them to become tech entrepreneurs , at the age of 15,17, and 18 girls are driving change in their respective communities by creating startups and tech based companies. to every little girl across the world, never doubt yourself,you can do more than you think. Use the super power of code to create the world you want . Thank you AIDF for recognising my work / efforts in empowering young women and girls in Africa at Apps and Girls , I am humbled . ”
The panel of judges included:
Karin Kallander, Senior Research Advisor, Malaria Consortium
Ademola Olajide, Resident Representative, UNFPA
Charles Gerhardt, International Project Manager, Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccine,and Health Supply Chain Management;
Alexandra Brown, Product Manager, Aid & International Development Forum.