Wonders lab based in Sudan, is a finalist for the 2018 Miss.Africa Seed Fund

Miss.Africa Digital Program spoke the CEO, Ms. Somia Mohamed Ali Dousa, about the program and how she intends to motivate more young girls to step in the Tech field.

Can you tell us about this project that has applied for the 2018 Miss.Africa Seed Fund Awards?

Wonders lab project aims to motivate more young girls to step in the Tech field. Through our project, girls will learn about coding and robotics and will have the chance to improve their analytical skills, problem solving techniques and critical thinking skills. Additionally, this project will improve their soft skills (e.g. presentation skills, team work) significantly.

We plan to run two sets of courses dedicated specially for girls for a period of 3 months.   We believe that would draw much attention and encourage the parents to register their girls in our programs. Some of the workshops will be free of charge and others will not, and the returns of these courses will be used to assure the sustainability of our model. On the first set of two courses, girls will learn about web development using HTML, CSS and javaScript languages, they will also get introduced to the concept of Human-centered design (HCD) as we believe that HCD is essential tool to help the girls to innovatively come up with tech-based ideas that genuinely solve problems in their communities. We plan also to organize one-hour free coding workshops during the weekends.  These workshops aim to inspire and motivate girls to try and taste what it is like to be a programmer. Girls will also have the chance to meet pioneering women in tech, talk to them and benefit from their experiences.   By the end of the 3 months, we hope that we will be able to leave a lasting impact on the lives of 300 young Sudanese girls.

What are some of the challenges you are trying to address with your project?

Today, in Sudan many young students lack the necessary 21st century IT skills. This is due to the fact that many schools can not afford buying the expensive equipment needed(e.g. computers).

The problem of learning these skills is even worse for girls as even the few IT initiatives in Sudan receive little attention from girls and their families. This was clearly observed when we started to accept kids in our previous robotics sessions as only six girls got registered by their parents out of the large number of applications received. Our goal through this project is to encourage more girls to get into tech and break the stereotyping the community has on them

How are you bringing innovative approaches to these problems?

Our innovative approach to tackle these problems is by crafting our courses in such a way that coding skills are complemented with the knowledge of HCD. We believe that coding is not an end goal by itself and needs to be complemented with other skills as well. Girls will work to develop their innovative tech ideas using the knowledge they gain throughout the course.

Moreover, our free one-hour coding workshops are our innovative approach to raise and spread the awareness of the importance of teaching programming and coding to kids especially girls. Throughout these free workshops, girls get the chance to learn, meet with inspiring tech women and try coding for the first time.

How does it feel to gain international recognition for your work?

 Receiving an international recognition is indeed a valuable thing. It shows us that we are walking the right path toward our goal, and that we are not walking alone in this journey. Moreover, receiving such recognition is not only significant to us as wonders Lab (Sudan) team but also to the girls we mentor as well. It shows them that the international community cares about them and their dreams, and that it will always work to support and empower them until they accomplish their goals.

Can you explain why skills for women in tech is so important?

Tech field has  been dominated by men for very long time, women have been always a minority that struggles to get its voice heard, to get hired and also to get grants/loans to start their tech business ideas. I strongly believe that we need to bring more women in tech field because women see things differently, and can bring totally a brand new perspective to the field which means we would be able to see new tech-based inventions and discoveries coming. Women perspective could help us tackle existing issues differently and most importantly, innovatively. Women only need to be empowered and be given a chance to bloom.

What in your opinion should be done to address the digital skills gap in Africa?

With the rapid growth of digital technologies, the education system must have more attention to this growing field and to ensure the basics of digital skills is properly introduced to the students at schools and universities.

So to address the digital skills gap in Africa, I think we need to continue raising the awareness of the importance of learning such skills especially for the younger generations.

Parents need to know that teaching their children digital skills is as important as teaching them Maths, chemistry and other academic subjects.

African governments and people in private and public sectors on the other hand,  need  to realize the need of these skills and they should start to support/build initiatives that work to bridge that gap.  Technology is instrumental key of change and development for Africa. It is the language of this 21st century, and I strongly believe that by investing in the younger generation of Africa and equip them with digital skills, we can assure a bright future for us all.

Click to watch on DotAfrica.Tv

 Somia Dousa founder Wonders Lab (Sudan), 2018 Miss.Africa Seed Fund Finalist

Ms. Somia Mohamed Ali Dousa Abdelrahman, Wonders lab, Sudan.

Ms. Dousa, is the CEO of Wonders lab.

Wonders lab project aims to motivate more young girls to step in the Tech field. Through their project, girls will learn about coding and robotics and will have the chance to improve their analytical skills, problem solving techniques and critical thinking skills.

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