“Helping vulnerable girls and young women from disadvantaged neighborhoods in the Community of Madrid, specifically Villaverde and Usera, to acquire independence and self-management” is the main objective of this initiative. Rocío Samino, director of the ApS University Office from the URJC and coordinator of the project, explains that “the purpose is for girls to approach technology naturally and without hesitation. The idea is that they themselves choose a general social problem and are able to provide solutions, whether by developing a mobile application, artificial intelligence, or a sustainability, business or communication plan.
The program, in which the girls involved in the project will participate, is “Technovation”, an international competition in which 120 countries and more than 30.000 girls participate. “It is a program of excellence, that is why only girls from the middle and upper class manage to participate. Girls from disadvantaged neighborhoods do not usually apply, hence the launch of this specific initiative by the ApS University Office,” says Samino, with the aim of contributing to greater equality of opportunities.
Students and teachers from different faculties of the URJC participate in this initiative, taking part in the mentoring and motivation work of the affected young women, with a total of 12 students belonging to the Faculty of Economics and Business Sciences, the School of Engineering of Fuenlabrada or the Faculty of Education and Sports Sciences and Multidisciplinary Studies. “The work of our students is to support these girls and help them become empowered to find solutions and be able to develop their own project, without forgetting that the leading role must belong to the girls and young participants,” clarifies the coordinator.
These students have received free training in Service-Learning training; training in “app inventor”, “mentoring” and leadership; training on how to prepare a business TFG; communication plan or marketing plan; and training on how to prepare a TFG in education through service-learning. “In addition, the collaborating entity has also offered a training session to all the student mentors participating in the event,” says Samino.
In this phase of the initiative, students meet once a week in 2-hour sessions with their group of girls, in person at the facilities indicated by the Nave Boetticher Platform. ApS tutors are in constant contact with students to help and guide them in their work. “The objective is not to win the 'Technovation' program, but to provide an opportunity to young people who, due to various circumstances, do not have the same opportunities as the rest,” concludes Samino.