All Girl Team Designs Internationally Recognized App

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អត្ថបទ​នេះមានជាភាសា៖ kmខ្មែរ

Cambodian middle school students reach semifinals of  international tech competition

tech-novationDesigning a viable business plan and coding an innovative mobile app are daunting tasks even for established startups. A team of 11-year-old Cambodian girls, however, is earning international accolades for an app that has inspired them to consider future careers in tech.

Team LiGeek from the Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh was one of three semifinalists in the Technovation global entrepreneurship competition, chosen from 62 entries across Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. The team created an app called ImEX, which was designed to build a virtual marketplace that connects farmers with potential buyers across Cambodia.

Interest in developing technology solutions for Cambodia has grown rapidly in recent years, with over 10,000 Cambodian university students studying information technology (IT) in 2010. However, according to a World Bank report, only 7.4% of these students were female. In order to bridge this gender gap, USAID’s Development Innovations project sought to foster information and communications technology (ICT) skills for young women by supporting five teams of middle school girls to join Technovation.

According to Team LiGeek, working at Development Innovations’ 5D Lab and using the 5D design thinking process (define the problem, discover the key players and context, design a solution, develop a tool, and deploy the solution) has helped them develop innovative and thoughtful solutions for complex problems in their communities.

“We are designing an idea to help [our communities],” LiGeek member Makara Poy said. “Then we will go out to the community and share with them the idea as a group to see if that idea is going to work.”

Developing ImEX has inspired the members of Team LiGeek to consider how they can use entrepreneurial and ICT skills in their future careers. Each of the LiGeek team members is interested in using their new skills in coding and business to improve their livelihoods.

“In the future, we want to be businessmen or work in IT so that we can use programming,” team member Sreypich Khon said. “We can build our own applications using coding and designing to help our futures.”

For freelance software engineer Rachana Nget—who volunteered as a programming mentor for the Technovation teams—teaching ICT skills to young women in Cambodia is essential for providing women with career opportunities and for improving the tech field.

“I want to encourage more women into the IT field,” Nget said. “IT is not only for men—it is for everybody.”

Development Innovations is a three-year USAID project that supports the use of ICT to address development challenges in Cambodia.

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