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This article was published on November 2, 2015

Watch a documentary that follows high school girls solving the world’s problems through code

Matthew Hussey
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Matthew Hussey

Commissioning Editor

Matt Hussey was the former Editor-in-Chief for The Next Web. Previously he worked on the launch of Wired UK, ShortList and Mr Porter. He's b Matt Hussey was the former Editor-in-Chief for The Next Web. Previously he worked on the launch of Wired UK, ShortList and Mr Porter. He's been an active contributor to GQ, FHM, Men's Health, Yahoo, The Daily Telegraph and maintains a blog on Huffington Post

Documentary film-maker Lesley Chilcott teamed up with Google’s Made with Code initiative to premiere a film about a school-girl app building competition on YouTube this weekend.

The film, entitled ‘CodeGirl‘ follows the lives of high school girls from diverse backgrounds including rural Moldova, the urban streets of Brazil and the leafy suburbs of Massachusetts, with each group attempting to solve a problem that affects their community by building an app.

In Moldova, the girls built Apa Pura, an application that helps locals know more about the quality of water in their neighbourhood. The team even went so far as to test the water for E. coli, hepatitis and heavy metals themselves to ensure they don’t drink contaminated water.

Each team has to learn to code, build a business model, study the competition and make a pitch video, all while still attending high school.

While the Technovation challenge is a brilliant way of encouraging young women from all over the world to apply, the film focuses on the lives of the contestants and the adversity they have to endure to even do the simplest of things. In another neighborhood in Maldova, a separate team have no access to further education or even a job.

But there are lighter moments. For team Psych’o based in California, the girls found new friendships and even a way of helping school teachers manage their resources more effectively.

In Guadalajara, Mexico, team Tech Voca tackle the issue of violence in the family by creating an app that allows girls to find out if they are the victims of domestic abuse.

It’s a response to the statistics revealed on the film’s website that despite the app market expected to be worth $77 billion by 2017, only 20 percent of the developers driving that economy are women.

Chilcott’s site even allows people to host screenings of the film, wherever they are.

It’s a small example of how technology’s power to change people’s lives for the better cannot be lead and dictated by white, male engineers alone. With women like this, tech’s future looks a little brighter.


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