The famous lyrics, “ready or not, here I come, you can’t hide” popularized by the American hip hop group, Fugees, comes to mind when describing the emergence of the five girls from Regina Pacies Secondary School, Onitsha, who won the gold medal at the 2018 Technovation World Pitch Summit.
Team Save-A-Soul, comprising of Promise Nnalue, Jessica Osita, Nwabuaku Ossai, Adaeze Onuigbo and Vivian Okoye, under the tutelage of Uchenna Onwuamaegbu-Ugwu, CEO of Edufun Technik STEM, developed the FD-Detector- an application designed to tackle the issue of fake pharmaceutical products flooding the Nigerian market.
This was by no means a small feat, considering that 115 countries participated in the qualifiers. It is particularly heartwarming when you find out that the girls, who school in Onitsha, a bustling commercial nerve in Eastern Nigeria, defeated teams from USA, Spain, Turkey, and China- countries known for their outstanding achievement in technological innovation.
The app is a welcome development, especially after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) impounded fake and substandard goods valued at N3 billion in 2017. The FD-Detector which is intended to be used in partnership with NAFDAC can be one of the tools used to implement policies that alleviate the issue.
It is often reiterated by human rights activists, early childhood education specialists, and political pundits that educating women enables their community to prosper. Research published has shown that young women are keen to learn the fundamentals of coding to foster community development. Insight acquired from these reports have spurred programs like ‘Kode with Klossy’ and ‘Girls who Code’ to show girls that coding can be used to solve real-world problems and also encourage them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
These girls did an amazing job and their achievement gives us a glimpse of what our country can achieve if we improve the Nigerian education system. It is essential to address the education of the Girlchild, especially when it has been recognized as the backbone of advanced societies.