The future truly is female, especially when it comes to leadership in solving for the climate crisis and a more just society. And HP's Girls Save the World program for aspiring female environmentalists and social entrepreneurs is proof.
Launched last October as part of the MIT Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge, the Girls Save the World program invited girls ages 13 to 18 to submit their ideas for solving an environmental or societal challenge in their community by using technology. Participants would enter for a chance to win part of a $50,000 prize pool and technology pack from HP to help them take the next steps in developing and implementing their solutions.
The Challenge received more than 800 applications from 148 countries, including many from girl-led teams that have worked tirelessly for months to submit innovative ideas that could make a difference in their communities. While all solutions were considered, the judging criteria included proving the potential impact, feasibility, and scalability of their solutions. Each team had to demonstrate an innovative approach designed with — and for — underserved communities.
“To garner the best solutions to global issues, we must empower girls to dive into technology and innovation and bring more diverse voices to the forefront,” says Eliza Berg, Lead, Learning & Solv[ED] Communities at MIT Solve. “HP’s Girls Save the World prize has enabled us to uplift even more young innovators who want hands-on experience.”
After careful consideration, 10 finalists were chosen. Projects range from water conservation to STEM education and were shared at the first-ever Girls Save the World virtual camp this week. Participants were supported in honing their pitches, and to receive mentoring by experts from HP and program partners.
All finalists received a sustainable technology pack from HP, including: an Elite Dragonfly, the world’s first laptop made with ocean-bound plastics, an ENVY Inspire printer with an Instant Ink subscription that contributes to HP Planet Partners through the reuse and recycling of printer cartridges, along with a supply of HP brand paper which contributes to forest protection and restoration.
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Nyamwange of Byron, Illinois, was the inaugural winner of this cohort, and claimed the top prize of $10,000. This funding will enable her to further develop her winning project, Etana. The device created by Nyamwange is a low-cost, solar-powered fingerprint scanner, which creates biometric templates and uploads them to a public server. The data is recorded on a blockchain, making it accessible and secure, giving women in developing countries a form of digital proof of identity without access to the internet or electricity.
“Etana was just simply an idea, something I was never sure I’d have the resources and support to create,” Nyamwange says. “It was so amazing to meet all of the girls, and I cannot wait to see how they all change the world.”