Meet the Winner of HP's Girls Save the World Challenge

Meet the Winner of HP's Girls Save the World Challenge

Elizabeth Nyamwange hopes to make her gender-equality-meets-blockchain-technology dream a reality.
Photo of Elizabeth Nyamwange

Nyamwange working on Etana, a solar-powered device that helps make digital identification accessible to women in countries like Kenya.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022 - 2:00pm

CONTENT: Article

When HP, Inc. put out a worldwide call last fall for girls ages 13 to 18 to submit innovative ideas about how to address an environmental or social issue in their community, more than 800 applications poured in from 148 countries.

With its Girls Save the World challenge, HP awarded the grand prize to the development and implementation of: Etana, a low-cost, solar-powered fingerprint scanner that provides women in developing nations with a digital proof of identity even if they don’t have access to the Internet or electricity.

Elizabeth Nyamwange, 16, from Byron, Illinois, had developed a gender-equality-meets-blockchain-technology and was looking for funding prior to hearing about the program. “I was so surprised that I won,” Nyamwange says. “It was a shock for me because I wasn’t positive if it was ever going to happen because I didn’t have the funding for it. I’m really, really grateful.”

The concept of the digital identification gap women in developing nations face, which limits their access to such important resources as judicial protection, health care, and banking, intrigued Nyamwange because of her relationship with her family in Kenya. “I’m really close with my family over there, especially a lot of the girls, and talking to them is a big part of where this idea came from,” says the first-generation American who attends the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Auora.

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CATEGORY: Education