The Women Techmakers Limbe together with a Ghanaian boy has won the second prize of the 2021 Ideathon for Women’s Online Safety organized by Google’s Jigsaw and Women Tech Makers for women and girls in Central Africa.

Ange Taffo said despite the challenges the internet connectivity in Cameroon posed, Team Sentinel was able to emerge as the second winner of the competition which challenged participants to propose and present solutions on harassment and bullying of women online.

The team has gone home with 150.000frs as second prize winner after another team from Bambili, Bamenda, North West Region emerged first. Cameroon was topping the competition.

The online competition which began in August 2021 was organized as a result of the fact that women face bullying and harassment online more than men do.

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The winning team and its solution

The second prize winners of the 2021 Ideathon for Central Africa who sought to solve Cyberstalking are:

-Loni Tande Miriam Ebenyea

-Hartwell Ayambiliko (the only boy in the team coming from Ghana)

-Meli Tchouala Imelda.

The team’s Android application solution involved developing two apps:

 1- A Safespace application with features like a cyber-police unit, channels for specific topics, daily tips on how to avoid cyberstalking, periodic tests. 

2- Utility App with features like check state of device components, an activity log for every action which is performed.

Certificate earned by WTM Limbe from the 2021 Women's Online safety Hackathon
Certificate earned by WTM Limbe from the 2021 Women’s Online safety Hackathon

Issues tackled at  2021 Women’s Online Safety Hackathon

Ange Taffo, the women Ambassador for Women Tech Makers Limbe told Cameroon Tech News the various issues to be provided solutions included

Doxxing:

The act of publicly revealing previously private personal information about an individual or organization, usually through the Internet).

 –Cyberstalking:

Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, group, or organization. It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, doxing, or blackmail

 –Non-consensual Distribution Images:

A situation where someone’s images are distributed without their consent. 

 –Harassment through Allies:

A situation where someone gets harassed by another person’s supporters.

Participants were also called to use required technology es like -Google Cloud, Tensorflow, Android and Chrome/Web.

How it all happened.

Ange Taffo, the Women Tech Makers ambassador for Limbe who is also a Masters student at the University of Buea, studying Network and Telecommunications, recounted the story of their win.

“This competition was organized for all countries in Central Africa, so each country came up with two or three teams and each team mostly made up 3 people, girls especially since the event was for girls. 

There were 4 judges to judge all the different teams. And there were speakers as well to inspire women on how to protect themselves online and encourage them to avoid online harassment and violence.

The competition was on the 11 of September, it took place online through google meet called.

Starting from August, I started forming my teams to represent the Limbe community in the event but it was not easy since most of the girls didn’t show interest. 

Fortunately, on the 16 of August, I had one girl who volunteered to participate. She came up with her team, made up of two girls and one boy just as the event required. 

So, weeks before applying, I provided guidelines to the teams on what is required for the competition. The team had to choose one issue and technologies to work on and provide a solution based on their issue.

The problem they chose was Cyberstalking and the technologies were, Android using Flutter for the first solution and for the second solution we chose machine learning, basically Tensorflow

So, for weeks we started preparing the idea to apply for the competition. The deadline to apply was on the 4th of September. Finally, after brainstorming on the idea, we applied for the event and started preparing the slide presentation for the big day on September 11.

As one of the organizers of the event, I could not be part of a team so, I was just guiding and helping the team with the necessary information. 

On the day of the event, even though internet connection was a challenge, we managed to do a good presentation and presented our various solutions for the issue chosen.”

Reactions to the win

 I am very happy to be in second place with the team because this victory was unexpected since the connection made us not present all the ideas we had. But in the end,  the main idea was presented and we are happy that the jury loved the idea. 

By next year the solutions presented will be fully implemented given that we now have the resources, the money gained to implement our idea and we shall give feedback to Women Tech Makers to participate in preventing women’s violence online through this proposed solution. 

I thank Women Tech Makers for this event and I am willing and ready to welcome new participants and volunteers that want to enjoy further opportunities that Women Tech Makers will offer so that we can grow and improve together as a community of Limbe.

Advice to other girls 

The advice I can give to other girls is that no matter your level in technology, if you are willing to participate or volunteer in a community, just do it and what is sure is that you will increase your knowledge.

The team that participated in the event didn’t know much about technology but due to their will and desire in gaining knowledge, they are now very rich both in knowledge and in money. So, Whether you have zero or very little, just show your interest, start from somewhere and from there, be consistent and you will surely learn other things.

Don’t be discouraged or in a haste, one step at a time and you will surely go very far in this field.

Read more about Women’s online safety via this link.

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Hi, I am Eduke. I am a village girl. I'll love to share my journey with you hoping you share yours too with me.

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