School girls who put Kenya on global digital map meet President

Five teenagers from Kisumu Girls National School Friday met with President Kenyatta as they prepared for an International Summit on Technovation in San Francisco, California.

And they will be representing Africa at the Summit with their unique app to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)  in Kenya.

The five girls, aged 15 to 17, are the only Africans selected to take part in this year’s International Technovation competition, where girls develop mobile apps to end problems in their communities

Technovation, which is sponsored by Google, Verizon and the United Nations, aims to teach girls the skills they need to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders.

The girls, Macrine Akinyi, Ivy Wakhungu,  Purity, Christine Achieng, Synthia Awuor Otieno and Stacydina Adhiambo Owino  have prepared a special App dubbed I-cut to end FGM.

I-Cut connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue centres and gives legal and medical help to those who have been cut.

They hope to win US Dollars 15,000 (Shs 1.5 million) if they win for their App at the competition scheduled for August 7-11. They leave the country next week.

The girls calling themselves “Restorers” because they want to “restore hope to hopeless girls”-some of whom have already been subjected to FGM and millions of others at risk of the retrogressive practice, met with President Kenyatta at State Lodge, Kakamega .

They wanted an audience with the Head of State seeking facilitation to enable their Computer teacher, Mrs Caroline Ogundha to accompany them to the United States.

And President Kenyatta did not disappoint on hesitate on their request. ‘We shall facilitate your teacher to travel with you. Congratulations and represent our country well. And I want to see you when you come back, said the President after listening to the girls who were still excited over the rare opportunity to meet and address the President.

Ms Stacy Adhiambo Owino who talked to the President said they had come up with the special app in their efforts to solve the problem of FGM, a painful, unnecessary and retrogressive cultural practice subjected to millions of girls worldwide including Kenya where it is officially illegal.

“We feel great to represent our country at this event whether we win or not”, said Owino.

The I-Cut is user-friendly and its simple interface has five buttons- help, rescue, report, information on FGM, donate and feedback – offering users different services.

Whether the five girls win the Shs 1.5 million or not, they join the thousands of young Kenyan tech entrepreneurs in a country famous for trail-brazing Africa in its pioneering M-pesa money transfer apps.

Edited by Claire Wanja


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