Every year, girls from all over the world are invited to the Technovation Girls challenge to work as a team, learn new skills, and apply them to solve real-world problems through technology.
In a world where women continue to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), we look at Technovation’s work inspiring young women all over the world to not only join, but lead the tech revolution.
Technovation Girls is a program from Technovation, a non-profit organization.
Technovation Girls inspires and guides girls between 10 and 18 years of age to become tomorrow’s tech leaders and entrepreneurs.
With the guidance of volunteer mentors from the tech sector, girls work together in teams, coding mobile apps to solve real-world problems. The apps they’ve created help people identify harmful invasive weeds, preserve poetry in the Khmer language, and connect with first responders in an emergency, to give just a few examples.
A related initiative called Technovation Families works with children, parents, and schools all over the world, bringing people together to learn about, play with, and create artificial intelligence. The organization works with boys and girls aged between 8 and 16 years, as well as adults, encouraging participants to learn and use AI to address day-to-day problems.
Technovation implements a three-part model to help participants gain greater ability and confidence in STEM subjects:
- Participants identify real-world problems, such as those affecting their own community, and use technology to develop an immediate, tangible solution.
- Participants build a team, whether working with their friends or under the guidance of a teacher or relative. Children can involve all their family, from their grandmother to their baby sister. Teams work together, brainstorming and encouraging one another as well as building a long-term community of learning.
- Technovation involves local communities by working with schools, community leaders, and partner organizations to align projects with local concerns and plugging gaps in existing support networks.
The goal of Technovation is to help make technology available to every community worldwide. Its impact is largely successful. Girls who participate in the program express greater interest in technology and leadership, while 84% of parents reported that they were more inclined to take action to improve their community after participating in Technovation Families. In addition, 90% of parents reported that their child demonstrated more creativity, curiosity, and interest in solving problems.
The beginnings of Technovation.
Technovation was founded in 2006. It was the brainchild of CEO Tara Chklovski, who came up with the idea while in graduate school at USC, where she studied engineering.
She realized that few of her fellow grad students were women or people of color. Chklovski grew determined to change that—not just within her university cohort, but everywhere.
She established Technovation to inspire young people and get them involved in STEM subjects, whatever their background. The organization’s first program, Family Science, commenced in 2007 at a school in Los Angeles. The initiative was quickly adopted by other local schools, with those in the San Francisco Bay Area following suit.
Technovation grew quickly, launching programs in schools in Florida, Chicago, and New York. It launched the Technovation Girls program in 2010, and its programs went global in 2013. To date, Technovation has reached people in more than 100 countries around the world through its tech-focused challenges for girls and families.
Participants in Technovation’s programs have developed innovative apps that address serious issues. Besides those apps mentioned previously, additional examples include an app that helps people monitor and reduce their water consumption, and a suicide prevention app.
The 2019 Technovation Girls challenge demonstrated participants’ ingenuity.
In 2019 alone, more than 7,200 girls from 57 countries participated in Technovation Girls. The Senior Group Winner of this year’s challenge was a team from Albania: the D3c0ders, who designed the GjejZâ app. GjejZâ helps women who are experiencing abuse by breaking down myths about domestic violence, providing a place for survivors to share stories, diagnosing user situations, and connecting users to legal advice. The app also offers medical and psychological consultation options and includes connections to emergency hotlines.
A team from India, Social Relay, won the 2019 Junior Division with their app, Baton. The app is intended to help interns or students who are leading humanitarian and social work projects in underserved communities. The app provides a place to record information and data, so that incomplete or long-term projects can be passed on to the next student or organization. The goal is to maximize the impact of student projects by ensuring their continuity.
Technovation’s goal is to engage people from every corner of the globe and help them succeed in a tech-driven world.
Technovation empowers people from underrepresented groups to problem-solve and lead through technological ingenuity. Through Technovation Girls and Technovation Families, the organization reaches young people around the world, offering a fun introduction to STEM and helping them create technological solutions to improve their communities.
Just a brief look at the organization’s numbers provides evidence that it is succeeding in its goals. Technovation has engaged more than 14,000 mentors since its foundation by providing a forum where STEM professionals can make a real difference in their communities. Since 2010, over 23,000 girls from more than 100 countries have taken part in Technovation Girls.
In total, Technovation has a global reach of more than 130,000 children and parents, while more than 7,000 AI prototypes and apps have been created through Technovation programs.