Three teams of girls were crowned National Pitch Champions of Technovation Cambodia 2022 on June 18, with education minister H.E Hang Chuon Naron making a virtual appearance, after developing applications aimed at improving the environment, simplifying waste management, and promoting STEM education – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The Tech for Kids Academy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, organized the largest social entrepreneurship programme for girls aged 8 to 18 this year.
The main sponsors were Khmer Enterprise, which is part of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Technology and Innovative Youth of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC).
“While Cambodia struggles to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, these teams of girls have shown their strong spirit, willingness, and responsibility in developing the tech capacity of young women in Cambodia,” Chuon Naron said at the online National Pitch of Technovation Cambodia 2022 on Saturday.
The 12-week programme included STEM education, app development, and AI technology to inspire young girls to pursue careers in technology and business, as well as improve their participation in science and Technology.
This year, 357 Cambodian girls enrolled in the programme, which is supervised by 75 volunteer trainers. They formed 38 teams, with 11 being chosen to compete in the National Pitch semi-finals. On June 18, their socioeconomic apps were presented to a panel of IT and entrepreneur experts.
The Senior Division champions were “Girls E4STEM,” the Junior Division champions were “Furious Five,” and the Beginners Division champions were “The Green Girl.”
Kao Menghorng, Mab Piseychantha, Sokha Seriroth, and Somang Sochannimol from Hun Sen Peam Chikang High School in Kampong Cham province made up the four-member Girls E4STEM team.
They worked on the E-STEM app after learning from the UNESCO “Cracking the Code” report.
“We will face a shortage of people resources in engineering and technology in the future if we don’t eliminate the gender gap in STEM education,” the Girls E4STEM team said.
They promoted their E-STEM app as a way to teach science, technology, computer coding, math, and English to technology students.
“The application also aims to provide the 4Cs of 21st century education – creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking – to achieve, promote entrepreneurship and innovation among students, and develop the education field in Cambodia,” as per Girls E4STEM.
The Junior Champion, Battambang province’s three-member “Furious Five” team, noticed that a waste problem that was damaging the beauty of their town was the result of an ineffective waste collection system, with a lack of information on collection routes and garbage truck schedules.
“Cozy Earth” was founded by Chornai, Soriya, and Mey Mey to “let citizens to report problems, track down any areas with rubbish, contact community leaders, volunteer to help clear waste, and donate.”
While their initial target users are mostly Battambang residents, they intend to broaden the app’s reach to include everyone in Cambodia.
Vannroth Sopheakneath – or “The Green Girl” – the Beginners Division Champion – also tackled a waste problem, which she found when deciding which sorting bins her trash should belong to.
“Even with the government’s initiative to place waste sorting trash bins in places like Battambang, Siem Reap, and Phnom Penh, people’s understanding and practises in terms of what to do with the various sorts of waste and how to properly sort them are still limited,” Sopheakneath said.
She developed the Green Camera Hero (GCH) with AI on her own to assist people in categorizing their waste by simply taking a picture.
Sopheakneath believes that after trialling the app and updating it with improved IA, “I can work with the public and private sectors, schools, NGOs, and municipal authorities to promote the benefits of the Green Camera Hero.”
All of the girls who took part, according to Heang Omuoy, regional adviser of Technovation Cambodia, were winners.
“After four months of hard work, including training and app development, everyone can feel the benefits of their efforts, becoming stronger and better versions of themselves.”
“Please sustain this momentum and continue in the future, with their attitude and commitment improving after such painstaking efforts and having worked harder than ever before,” Omuoy said.
According to Minister of Education H.E Chuon Naron, learning to identify a community problem, develop an app through coding, and impementing with real business development skills from Technovation can help young women develop confidence and courage.
He said that they will likely continue their studies in technology and become in high demand human resources in the digital world.
Chuon Naron expressed his pride in the fact that teams of Cambodian females would be attending the World Summit of Technovation in 2022, an organisation with 140,000 students and 19,000 volunteer mentors from all over the world.
“Four of the 28 Cambodian girls’ teams progressed to the global semi-finals of the Technovation competition. Their participation in the final of such a global tournament demonstrates that their technological and entrepreneurial abilities are equivalent to those of girls from other nations.
“I am confident that Cambodian girls will continue to bring victory and national pride to their country with the help of trainers,” he said.
Source: The Phnom Penh Post