Public School Teen Girls Fixing Period Poverty With Their Award-Winning Innovation – Conrad Challenge Nigeria

March 30, 2022

There is no gainsaying the progress and giant strides women have taken over the years to break the glass ceiling of bias and limitation to gain a place at the table. However, for over 500 million girls, access to safe menstrual hygiene products and menstruation information remains an insurmountable barrier to maximizing their educational and financial potential. 

For Esther Inioluwa Lawal, 15, and Onyemaechi Shalom, 14, members of Team Bio Girls of Government Science and Technical College, Garki, Abuja, access to menstrual supplies isn’t just a women’s issue, but a human rights and education issue that requires global attention. 1 in 10 girls misses school (an estimated 60 billion school hours yearly) during their menstrual cycle and many drop out altogether. ‘This is a tragedy requiring urgent attention’ says the teenagers. 

These girls are surely breaking the bias and have emerged as the winners of the 2021/2022 Conrad Challenge Nigeria finals. They will be representing Nigeria in April 2022 at the Global Conrad Challenge Summit to hold at Space Center Houston, Texas, USA.

They are one of the 20 Northern public school teams in Nigeria sponsored by the US Embassy in Nigeria with laptops, internet devices and other resources to help in their research and participation in the 2021/2022 Conrad Challenge. Their product called BIO GIRLS reusable sanitary pads won them the grand prize of $100,000 per team member US undergraduate scholarship and several awards as well as N1,000,000 (One million Naira) cash prize, $1,000 (One thousand US Dollars) Agile team award to help take their product to market. They are motivated to help put an end to period poverty by converting and recycling waste banana trunks into reusable sanitary pads. 

The BIO GIRLS reusable sanitary pads are eco-friendly, cost-effective, biodegradable, skin-friendly, and could put an end to environmental pollution and health-related issues caused by conventional ones. It is also purely organic and contains no form of toxins. 

The Conrad Challenge was founded by Nancy Conrad in honour of her late husband, astronaut, innovator, and entrepreneur, Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. The Conrad challenge is designed for students within the ages of 13 – 18 years to apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Math to solve real-world problems around them. It consists of four categories which include Aerospace and Aviation, Health and Nutrition, Energy and Environment, and Cyber Technology and Security. 

The Conrad Challenge debuted in Nigeria in 2018 and runs in three stages over several weeks: the entry round, the semi-finals, and the finals. Teams compete through these stages by making elevator pitch videos about their ideas, creating prototypes, and business strategies to help them take their idea into a market worthy product. 

The 2021/2022 Conrad Challenge Nigeria finals took place over the course of three days which featured 23 finalist teams and projects including a working low-cost ventilator, plastic-to-gas recycler, etc. Two other top teams emerged winners in addition to Bio-girls – Team Incognito from Pegasus Schools Akwa-Ibom and Team Biocon from Dansol High School Lagos. 

Team Incognito (Ogechukwu Annette Ndubuisi, Kristal Iyeimo, and Usiere Victor Ndedde) from Pegasus Schools, Akwa Ibom emerged as the first runner up (winning N500,000 cash prize) for their idea Ultravent, a ventilator designed to provide more affordable, efficient, and pure oxygen for intensive care patients in third world countries who otherwise cannot afford decent healthcare. While Team Biocon (Oluwatomisin Miracle Coker, Omobolanle Mary Sadela, Olaoluwa Ebunoluwa Oluwashade, and Oluwatumininu Morenike Daada) from Dansol High School, Ikeja, also made up of four teenage girls

emerged as the second runner up for their idea, TTOB-converter, a multi-purpose converter that converts other things apart from tobacco like plastics into hydro-carbon oil and cooking gas. 

The Mobil Nigeria-owned school, Pegasus Schools, Akwa Ibom produced the overall winning team in the 2018/2019 session of the Conrad Challenge Nigeria Competition with their “Team Innovation’s” Piracy Tracking software.

Here are the prizes and awards for the participants of the competition: 

General prizes: 

⦁ Clarkson scholarship ($60,000 for 4 years) for all finalists 

⦁ Certificates and medallions for finalists and coaches 

⦁ Laptops for coaches of top 3 winning teams.

Overall winner prizes: 

⦁ A trip to attend the Global Conrad summit and visit the Johnson Space Center Houston. ⦁ $1000 prize money for the team to create a market-ready MVP. 

⦁ $25,000 per year scholarship to Menlo College for a total value of $100,000 over four years 

⦁ $22,000 per year merit-based scholarship to Lewis & Clark College for a total value of $88,000 over four years 

⦁ $15,000 per year scholarship to enroll in the Jefferson University School of Design and Engineering, a total value of $60,000 over four years 

⦁ $15,000 per year scholarship to Clarkson University, for a total value of $60,000 over four years 

⦁ $10,000 per year scholarship/partial abatement award to College of Charleston, a total value of $40,000 over four years 

⦁ $2,500 per year grant to Florida Institute of Technology, on top of any merit-based scholarships earned (range from $10,000 up to 50% of tuition), for a total of $10,000 over four years 

⦁ $1,000 scholarship to attend the Leangap program 

To learn more about the Conrad Challenge and how to participate, visit www.ngconradchallenge.org

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

11 Nigerian Women Talk About Their Biggest Insecurities
March 30, 2021

Everyone has insecurities — something that they are ashamed of or something they wish they had. In this article, I asked eleven Nigerian women about their biggest insecurities. Here’s what they had to say.  Kainene, 23 I am insecure about the shape of my body. I am a masculine-presenting woman, and I hate that I […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

May 21, 2022

The subject of today’s Sex Life is a 27-year-old man who masturbated for the first time when he was 22. He talks about the transition from saving himself for marriage to just enjoying sex, and why he never considered masturbation till he started having sex.

Recommended Quizzes

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

October 30, 2019

Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys movie got a lot of things right, especially casting, so yes, it was a monster hit. Now, we know you may not have put much thought to this, but the personalities of some of the characters closely match yours, and we would like to help you find the perfect match. […]

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

More from Her

May 11, 2022

Today’s subject on #Zikokowhatshesaid is @fehinlean, a 30-year-old Nigerian woman. She talks about her childhood love for motorcycles, why she waited until she was 28 to ride one and handling the stares when people realise she isn’t a man, on her biking trips across the country.

May 7, 2022

“I have gone from believing in the possibility that God exists to questioning the reality of that chance.”

In this essay, Mariam talks about her journey with religion over the years and what influences her lack of faith.

Read here:

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X