Ten female contestants from different African countries are engaged in intensive preparations ahead of this year’s edition of Miss Geek Africa Competition due next week.
The annual female-only contest’s grand finale will take place on the sidelines of the 2018 Transform Africa Summit in Kigali.
The 10 finalists are undergoing a facilitated week-long intensive training at DMM.HeHe community space in the Rwandan capital.
The training, which kicked off Wednesday, is designed to equip the trainees with presentation, public speaking and critical thinking skills to get them ready for the grand finale.
“The idea is to make sure we equip the girls with the skills they need to explain their projects and stand a chance of taking them to the next level,” said Esther Kunda, from Girls-In-ICT Rwanda, the main organizers of Miss Geek Africa.
“In the training, the girls are equipped with public speaking skills and mentors help them to fine-tune their ideas,” she added.
Girls-In-ICT Rwanda is a group of women professionals in STEM fields, who came together with the principal goal of mentoring Rwandan and African girls in science, technology, engineering, and math.
The finalists for this year’s edition are from Mali, Benin, Djibouti, Niger, Senegal, Kenya, and Cameroon and hosts Rwanda.
All the semi-finalists will get a chance to attend the summit where the grand finale will take place at the Smart Africa Women’s Summit, oganisers said.
Last year, Girls-In-ICT Rwanda partnered with Smart Africa to expand the competition to all member states with Kenya’s Ruth Njeri becoming the inaugural Miss Geek Africa.
The inaugural edition was held during last year’s Transform Africa Summit in Kigali.
This year, organisers are celebrating the 5th anniversary of Miss Geek competition – which initially started as a Rwandan affair.
“What started as a small idea in Rwanda is now a part of the Smart Africa agenda,” Lucy Mbabazi, one of the organizers, told Saturday Times few weeks ago.
This year’s competition was organised under this year’s Transform Africa Summit theme, ‘Accelerating Africa’s Single Digital Market.’
Applicants were supposed to devise a solution that can allow Africans to better collaborate and interact, especially through trading in a single digital market.
One of them is Christelle Mazimpaka, a 17-year-old science student from Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in Rwanda’s Bugesera District. She’s working on a platform that can link local investors to local ideas, a solution she believes would help address the issue of unemployment.
“There is a gradual increase in unemployment in Rwanda and across Africa. But we still produce the number of people who are smart enough to do jobs. With this technology platform, we can connect these great minds to investors,” she said.
Beryl Nekesa, a semi-finalist from Kenya, said she wants to use blockchain technology to address the issue of corruption both in her country and the rest of Africa.
According to Gerald Otim, a mentor who’s working with the girls in the ongoing training camp, all of them had brilliant ideas, and the facilitators are only helping them to fine-tune their ideas and perfect the pitching.
The competition is exclusively open to females between the ages of 13 and 25 years, who are also citizens of any of Smart Africa member state.
This year’s competition attracted over 200 applicants.