Since February 2014, two TechWomen alumnae have coordinated the Zimbabwe Technovation Challenge, a technology entrepreneurship program for young women (ages 13-23). Through an intensive curriculum and mentoring program, teams of young women work together to create, design, and test mobile applications and then pitch their ideas to investors. Zimbabwe’s best teams will submit their projects to the international Technovation Challenge, hoping to win a spot at the Technovation World Pitch event in San Francisco in June 2014.
Over 130 girls from seven Harare and Bulawayo high schools are participating in the Technovation Challenge, meeting at Hypercube on Friday afternoons to receive app development training and mentorship. The teams have proven to be remarkably creative, identifying salient problems and developing technology-driven solutions to these challenges. One team from Glenview High School, recognizing that many young Zimbabweans do not have disposable income, has developed an app that allows users to barter goods. Another app, called “Pora Pora” (which means “Get Well” in Shona), delivers customized health reminders for users. The development team realized that their grandparents often forgot to take their medicine or to schedule doctor’s appointments. Pora Pora sends reminders to young people who, in turn, ensure that their grandparents or parents maintain their treatment schedules, particularly for the anti-retroviral medications used to treat HIV. Given the success of the first Technovation Challenge, PAS Harare plans to provide $5,000 to support the purchase of additional laptops and to fund Technovation workshops outside of Harare. Media coverage of the Technovation Challenge can be found below: