Apps have the power to massively impact society and affect change where it’s needed most. Historically, tech and app development has been a male-dominated industry, but more girls and women are getting involved and bringing their innovations to the table. We’ve put together a list of five apps developed by girls who are using tech to change the world:
Photo pulled from Dorcas Wangari’s report “The App and the Cut.” Watch the full report here.
In 2017 the Restorers made headlines everywhere for their app I-Cut. This app will help girls at risk of undergoing FGM connect to rescue centers, while providing legal and medical resources to girls who have already undergone the practice.
Three years later, this story is far from over. They are currently looking for partners that will help them continue progress on the app and launch a final product. Once finished, there’s no telling what kind of impact it can have on women and girls!
At 9 years old, Betelhem Dessie asked her father for some money so she could celebrate her birthday. When he said no, she took matters into her own hands and raised birthday funds through editing videos and installing software.
Now, at 20 years old, Betelhem is using her tech skills to help the government. She created an app that allows the Ethiopian government to map out rivers, which helps track irrigation systems. She’s also inspiring the next generation of girls: She teaches girls tech skills, including app and website building, through the initiative Girls Can Code. She believes that teaching these skills will lead to incredible things in the years to come.
“The biggest thing we have in Africa is a young generation. So if we train the young generation in tech, we’ll be able to build something that is everlasting.”
Salissou Hassane Latifa
Photo credits to Friends of Europe.
Salissou Hassane Latifa is saving lives with her app, Saro, which allows people on the scene of an accident to communicate with medical professionals. With this app, everyday people can provide first aid while they wait for emergency responders. The app also has a GPS tracker that allows responders to more easily locate the accident scene.
She won the Miss Geek Africa Award in 2018 for this life-saving invention, and is currently working to empower other girls through ICT. For her, being able to help people through information and communication technology (ICT) is a lifelong dream.
“Although I started studying pharmacy, my passion and dream were always to use the power of ICT to improve the lives of Niger’s people,” she says. “So, I decided to study for a university degree on ICT to develop my skills and work on my talent for technological innovation in Niger.”
Lisa Michael Jones
When Lisa Michael Jones was 14 years old, she realized that many farmers (including her own grandfather) were struggling to cultivate large plots of land. Determined to find a solution, she invented SmartShamba. This app allows farmers to communicate with agricultural experts for advice, which is helping rural farmers have more successful harvests.
“I can impact my society in many ways through technology. It doesn’t require a lot of money, but a good idea,” she says.
What started as a way to tell more African stories quickly grew into a whole company dedicated to education, thanks to Elizabeth Kperrun. She started her company ZenAfri to create educational and fun apps for kids in their local languages. These apps teach basic numeracy, literary skills, life lessons, and other skills to children — all while keeping kids connected to their native tongues.
Elizabeth and her enterprise gained international attention in the past year. She received the Commonwealth International Award, became the first Nigerian woman to be shortlisted for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, and made the Quartz African Innovators 2019 list.
Apps like these should not be the exception, but the norm in the tech world. By ensuring girls and women have equal access to the internet and ICT skills, we’ll set the stage for more girls to innovate and create the apps the world needs.