First Day in Abuja
The day’s workshop hosted girls from the surrounding schools with an interest in STEM. It began with a welcome and introduction by 2014 fellow Binta Moustapha who discussed the value of the TechWomen Program and its focus on lasting impact by encouraging its participants to return home and make change in their communities.
Mentors Jeannice Fairrer Samani and Zoe Schladow then led a session focused on design thinking and problem solving. The audience was broken up into small groups each with a fellow and mentor leading the participants in thinking through community-specific challenges and solutions.
In the afternoon, all six groups of girls delivered their pitch presentations based on issues and solutions they identified in the design thinking workshop. Some of the ideas included a solar-powered wristwatch with an emergency call for help and a trash bot to solve environmental issues caused by waste. The girls then participated in different workshops lead by mentors. Jessica Dickinson Goodman lead a workshop on learning to code on a loom, Queen Denchukwu presented on motherboards and Larissa Shapiro lead a session on basic web development.
The delegation group then traveled to the Chief of Mission’s residence for an evening reception with U.S. Embassy colleagues as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society, universities and the government of Nigeria. The U.S. Ambassador spoke to the group about the important role that women play in the country’s future, saying, “The female side of Nigeria is the greatest untapped resource in the world.”