NAIROBI– Ten Kenyan girls’ teams, drawn from secondary schools across the country, have been shortlisted for the 2018 Global Technovation Challenge semifinals.

The ten teams were selected from more than 80 girls’ teams which made submissions for this year’s competition.

Kenya has been rank fourth in global submissions, behind Spain’s 11 teams, Canada with 13 and the United States with 19 teams.

The Women in Technology Initiative of Kenyan telecommunication services company Safaricom mentored the teams seeking to increase women participation in Kenya’s technology sector.

Safaricom Director of Technology Thibaud Rerolle said Moday that Safaricom continued to partner with other organizations with the goal of increasing the participation and representation of Kenyan women in the global technology sector.

The Technovation Challenge has been important in grooming future women engineers and also showcasing Kenya as a world innovation leader, hence our support of the initiative, he added.

Technovation Challenge Regional Ambassador, Anne Cheboi said that the Technovation Challenge looks to encourage girls in secondary schools around the world to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through mentorship.

In the four years that we have run the challenge in Kenya, we have seen an increase in quality of submissions. We now see all the girls’ team now coming up with innovations that address locally relevant challenges, she said.

The challenge involves three months of mentorship, in which teams of young women work together to design applications and pitch them to investors.

Teams shortlisted for the semifinals proceed to the global finals, where the winning team walks away with 1.5 million shillings (about 14,850 US dollars) in funding for further app development. The top two teams from Africa will be awarded 10,000 USD and 5,000 USD in scholarships.

Two Kenyans teams have previously emerged among the top submissions globally with Precious Blood Girls School emerging second in 2016 with a bus booking app. In 2017, Kisumu Girls School made it to the finals with an app that seeks to combat genital mutilation.