Teen Girls in Blockchain is an initiative that provides support for teenage girls interested in blockchain technology.
Founded by Ekenekamchukwu Ezeala and Tife Adeniyi in 2022, the community provides education, training, mentorship, boot camps and other forms of support for budding young girls who are interested in the revolutionary blockchain technology.
Ekene, in a conversation with Technext, explained the motivation behind Teen Girls in Blockchain (TGIB) and the impact the community has been able to make in a year of operations.
The motivation behind Teen Girls in Blockchain
According to Ekene, the motive behind kickstarting TGIB was to address two key issues. Firstly, to address the palpable imbalance between male and female representation in the African tech space.
“So I said we need to tackle the issue and it’s not what you address from the top, you need to start from the grassroot and foundation so we came with the idea of grooming teenage girls in blockchain as they are springing up.”
Secondly, Ekene has been an ambassador for Womentech Network, an initiative that empowers women in the tech sector. Through the community, he has seen that quite a number of women are doing well in the ecosystem.
Being a man behind a female-focused initiative is not a barrier for him.
“It’s not about saying I’m a man, it’s about what I can give back to society. It doesn’t really occur to me that I’m a man heading a female initiative. Humans are obligated to get things right in society, be it man, be it woman.”
Additionally, he believes there is no systemic barrier against females in the tech space.
“What I believe is if you don’t hear you can’t attend or do. They need to hear, some of them do not. The thing is the education is not wide enough. We’ve had amazing female developers. They are willing to learn it’s just about taking this down to them and giving them reasons to be there. That’s why we work with female focused organizations as well where we bring them to be mentors so they can inspire younger girls.”
Teen Girls in Blockchain Operations
One of the qualities that make TGIB stand out among a plethora of female-focused tech communities in Africa is the target of teenagers.
“We are taking it down to the colleges, secondary schools and high schools for them to know. We start with teenagers from 13, we onboard 10,11. Once you can read and write, we are onboard. What makes it stand out is the age bracket we are targeting and the new market we are opening up.”
The first stage is creating awareness by going to communities to simplify blockchain in the language they can understand. This is followed by education, training, and empowerment phases.”
“And this is going to be a continuous process.”
Teen Girls in Blockchain operates in different areas of Nigeria but most operations started from the Northern parts like Kaduna, Kano, Zaria, and Kogi before penetrating the southern areas like Lagos, Akwa-Ibom and others.
“We’ve held close to five events and attended one boot camp. We’ve had an event at Government Girls Secondary School, Samaru-Zaria. Also, we had a little event in Zaria town.
We also had an event in Kano where we partnered with some blockchain companies. We had events in Kogi, we also have Friday events in our Kogi community. It’s based on WhatsApp. We are also partnering with different brands to come up with strategic boot camps for our community.
In Akwa Ibom, we’ve done two events, we’ve visited schools and we attended a one-week Boot Camp in August.”
At the moment, Ekene says Teen Girls in Blockchain is self-funded.
“When you look at your dream and goal, you need to finance it yourself but people can support you later. We have friends outside Nigeria, we have advisors and friends that have supported us. But every other activity we’ve been able to do it self handed. We reached out to several companies for support but we’ve not gotten feedback at the moment.”
Achievements of Teen Girls in Blockchain
In a little over a year, TGIB has been able to impact the lives of teenage girls in substantial ways. In the Kogi community alone, there are close to 180 young girls while the general community has over 300 members.
“We’ve got a female developer who is part of our team, she’s 19. Although she joined us when she was learning web development and she’s still learning, she got her first blockchain degree before she joined us so it was a sort of encouragement to the community. She’s from Delta State.
We have artists, people who draw. We have web developers from Kogi state who are 18 and 19. We have content writers. We have graphic designers and social media managers. In Uyo, we just got interest from people so we are trying to put them into classes and batches for learning.
We’ve distributed t-shirts, caps, hoodies and we’re doing more. We have other things in the pipeline that we will unveil gradually. Before December we have 4 projects we want to execute.”
At the moment, Teen Girls In Blockchain is working to put up a first official boot camp and transitioning to a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). Also, the community is interested in expanding within Nigeria and beyond.
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