Three Nigerian-Irish teenagers, Rachael Akano (16), Margaret Akano (17) and Joy Njekwe (17), have been named champions of Technovation Girls, an international competition which challenges young women to develop a problem solving app for their community.
The competition is an annual one hosted by Technovation, a non profit organization which empowers girls to become leaders in the male-dominated tech industry.
Guided by a project mentor Evelyn Nomayo, the girls created an award winning app which can help patients with dementia. The young teens who live in Drogheda, Ireland were inspired to create an app that could help with the disorder after Nomayo told them about her mother who experienced dementia.
After the 12-week long challenge, the young teens came up with “Memory Haven”, beating out more than 1,500 submissions from 62 countries.
According to Goats and Soda, when asked how Memory Haven can help with dementia, Rachael said:
Our app has six features: photo albums, music, outreach, face and voice recognition, memory games and reminders. The memory game allows [a user] to put their cognitive ability to the test while promoting memory retention in a fun way and improving focus and speed. The face and voice recognition feature makes it easy for users to identify their friends and family. Then research suggests that musical memories are the least affected by dementia, so we created a music feature for personal playlists.
Concerning what their roles were, the girls said:
Margaret: I was the project manager.
Rachael: And I was the financial manager.
Joy: I was the sales manager, but we all worked on everything really.
They were also asked their career goals and their responses were:
Margaret: I’m currently in medical school. I hope to specialize in precision medicine, which deals with how technology can help people in the medical world.
Rachael: I instantly fell in love with the business aspect of the competition. I think I’m definitely going to go into international business and IT.
Joy: I’m equivalent to a senior in high school and am getting ready for college. Right now, I’m looking at computer science and engineering or some sort of science field because that’s what excites me.