Lenovo, in partnership with Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) Department of Information Technology and Toyota held the 2023 Robogirl programme. The impactful initiative aimed to empower 75 young girls with comprehensive training in coding, robotics, and the fundamental principles of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Selected from 15 schools in the eThekwini area, particularly focusing on historically disadvantaged communities, Robogirl hosted grade 10 and 11 students, offering them an opportunity to train and be educated in technical fields, including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Centenary High School, Verulam Islamic School and Palmview Secondary School were announced as winners of this year’s competition.

The programme structure entailed three days of intensive training, culminating in a competitive challenge where participating schools had two days to create and develop an innovative IoT solution.

In attendance was Dr Nevhutalu, deputy vice-chancellor at DUT; Professor Olugbara of DUT; Toyota SA; Old Mutual; IEC and Microsoft.

Yugen Naidoo, GM of Lenovo Southern Africa, comments: “Lenovo’s collaboration with DUT for the Robogirl 2023 program underscored our commitment to prepare young girls for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and beyond. Our vision of ‘Smarter Technology for All’ is aimed at empowering underrepresented communities by providing access to STEM education, as well as opportunities for individuals and communities to reach their full potential.”

Robogirl addresses the gender imbalance in STEM professions and higher education in South African and beyond. By reducing this disparity, more opportunities for women are created, fostering equitable income generation, and fostering conducive, professional environments for their growth.

“Beyond coding and robotics, participants hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills through theoretical teachings and practical applications. Additionally, the program instills values of teamwork, collaboration, and shared responsibility among the learners,” says Naidoo.  “We are immensely proud of all the girls who participated in this year’s competition and wish them victory in all their aspirations.”

The winners respectively received tablets, Microsoft training, and gift bags worth R2 500. One student won a Canon camera worth R24 000 in the lucky draw competition. With these rewards, the schools and individuals will be enabled greater possibilities of honing their talents for long-term educational and career success.