In furtherance of its commitment to bridging the technology gap and ensuring more inclusion of women in technology, Eko Innovation Centre has partnered with Africa Agility and Impact Lagos to train 10,000 girls in Lagos in the next five years.
This was disclosed at the second edition of “Girls in Tech Bootcamp Lagos” held at the Eko Innovation Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos, which was attended by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu alongside some of his cabinet members and other dignitaries.
The visit of the Governor also marked his final round of trips to innovation hubs across the state as part of activities marking his two years in office, and also to connect first hand with players in the tech ecosystem.
The “Girl-in-Tech” programme featured various exhibitions across health, waste and traffic management and how technology has been deployed to help solve the challenges faced within these sectors in the state, as well as help government get adequate data for good governance.
At the event, Sanwo-Olu applauded the innovations exhibited, stating that it aligns with his T.H.E.M.E.S agenda, an acronym for his administration’s six strategic development agenda namely, Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology.
He added that the initiative will help fast track the digitalization of the state’s operations and fuelling technology-driven innovations to transform it into a 21st century digital economy and smart city.
He said “Technology will give us the opportunity to leapfrog” as he vowed to support the initiative. He explained further that empowering women will greatly help transform the state considering how they are dedicated to working and how their impact is always felt when they embark on a task.
Also speaking at the special event, Founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Victor Gbenga Afolabi said that achieving a smart city and inclusion of more women in technology is the aim of its partnership with Africa Agility on Girl in Tech Bootcamp Lagos.
“Eko Innovation Centre (EIC) is an innovation hub committed to accelerating the growth of businesses, leveraging technology at the core of their operations. So, we are positioned as an accelerator within the tech ecosystem. We help startup develop and accelerate their go to market strategy.
“The EIC focuses broadly on civic tech, working to drive social impact by developing tech solutions to problems faced by governments in state and regional levels. These include innovations like those developed at the Lagos smart Meter hackathon held last year.
“For this year, we have partnered with Africa Agility to equip the Nigerian female youth with the necessary digital skills they need to access opportunities in tech and business. We trained 100 girls last year and another 100 this year as part of the Girls in Tech initiative. The beneficiaries include undergraduates, unemployed, single mothers with no previous IT skills and we groomed them in the bootcamp for about a month which ended with a 3-day hackathon to proffer tech-enabled solutions around the Lagos T.H.E.M.E.S agenda.”
Speaking on why the initiative is focused on women, he explained, “Women are disproportionate in tech globally. In Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, less than one percent of women are actually part of the total tech ecosystem and we think the future of the world is around tech. We see it as a way of creating women emancipation and balance the imbalance that currently exists around the talents that are currently present in the technology ecosystem.”
He added that in the first two edition of the bootcamp about 200 has been trained and plans on the way to train 10,000 in the next five years. “The plan of Eko Innovation, Africa Agility and impact Lagos; who are partners on the project, is to train 10,000 girls in Lagos state over the next five years.”
Similarly, the Founder of Africa Agility, Aanu Gopald said in the last three weeks, the girls have learnt Artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, web development, UI/UX, and agile. She explained that the six programmess learnt are most popular digital cutting-edge technology highly sought out in the world.
“The future of this is to change the narrative that girls do not belong to technology and we want Lagos State to be a pacesetter championing this movement to have more girls in technology industry. Also, for these girls to be able to solve some of the complex problem in Lagos,” she added.
Eko Innovation Centre, a leading innovation hub in the country, is created to foster the growth and development of start-ups and entrepreneurship in Nigeria. It empowers start-ups from concept to commercialization. It is behind initiatives such as Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon, Art of Technology Lagos among other laudable initiatives in partnership with Lagos State government and others.
Meanwhile, Africa Agility, a non-profit organization, over the years has embarked on several initiatives in line with its vision of a dignified smarter and brighter future for children or youths of the underserved community and the entire continent as a whole. These include STEM for Rural Areas; Agile in Higher Education; Agile Philanthropy; and Girls in Technology.