Five Kenyan schoolgirls have earned themselves a trip to California in the United States, hoping to bag $15,000 (KSh 1.5 Million) for a global competition organized by global giant tech giant Google.
The five, aged between 15 to 17, were the only Africans selected to take part in 2017 international Technovation competition after developing I-cut, an app that aims at ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
"FGM is a big problem affecting girls worldwide and it is a problem we want to solve," Stacy Owino, one of the five girls said and will be flying to the United States on Aug. 6.
She added: "This whole experience will change our lives. Whether we win or not, our perspective of the world and the possibilities it has will change for the better."
The five, who hail from Kisumu County, refer themselves as "Restorers" because they want to "restore hope to hopeless girls," said Synthia Otieno.
The said that their idea came up after one of their friend underwent FGM, which forced her to drop out of school.
"We were very close, but after she was cut she never came back to school," said Purity Achieng, describing a classmate who underwent FGM. "She was among the smartest girls I knew."
Their application connects girls at risk of FGM with rescue centers, which offer legal and medical help to those who have been cut.
The I-cut app interface has five buttons — help, rescue, report, information on FGM, donate and feedback — offering users different services.
"We just have to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to the next level," said schoolgirl Ivy Akinyi who plans to become a computer programmer.