Martha was born in Sapele, a small town in Delta State. She attended the Chad Basin Development Authority Primary School in Maiduguri, Borno State, where she was privileged to have brilliant teachers who encouraged her early to build capacity in Mathematics. She had her secondary education in Sapele, Delta State at Chude Girls Grammar School, now a model school; where she served as the Head Girl and Maths prefect.
Martha developed early interest in STEM subjects in high school especially Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. She was particularly curious about how to relate what was learnt in class to real-life situations and solve problems around her. At a very tender age, she observed that more girls moved away from sciences to social sciences because they found the STEM subject difficult and unattractive, On the contrary, Martha would on her own try experiments using low cost and natural resources as she was in love with STEM. She decided to become an engineer at a young age.
During her undergraduate studies in Computer Engineering, she further observed that only few ladies were in her class and almost all lecturers were males. From her first year in the university, she was very perceptive of the gender imbalance in tech and became quite aware of the ‘leaky pipeline’.
She was troubled at this trend as she felt STEM should be fun enough to attract girls. So, while waiting for the National Youth Service Corps programme in 2001, she began to reflect on the possible causes for the decline of women in the STEM fields. She acknowledged the gaps, stereotypes, pedagogies, non-availability of STEM resources, educational policies, cultural barriers and most importantly, the role foundational teachers play in both primary and secondary education. Observing the trend she understood the future impact of this imbalance. So in 2002, she decided to act by reaching out to school teachers, who were mostly women and started a STEM campaign for women and girls, and thus started off WITIN
IMPACTS ON WOMEN, GIRLS, TEACHERS AND ADOLESCENTS/YOUTHS
Martha has directly imparted over 45,000 women within the country between January 2002 – Dec 2019.
She pioneered the Grassroots Women empowerment through ICT (GWEIT) supported by Google which brought the businesses of over 3000 disadvantaged women in rural, remote and under-served communities in Nigeria online, immensely improving their lives and livelihoods.
Martha, through WITIN’s partnership with the USAID’s Women and the Web initiative and Intel She Will Connect equipped over 13,000 Nigerian women on Technology and Entrepreneurship. Through WITIN’s recently launched initiative – ‘Enjoy‘ – Entrepreneurship And Job Opportunities For Youths to provide opportunities for 20,000 Nigerian youths by 2022; Martha is equipping more young women with latest skills and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, advocating returnship options for women to re-enter the tech workforce. She is also currently driving a resilient campaign to get more Nigerian women into tech leadership positions in the Nigerian digital ecosystem through advocacy, workshops and most importantly, working with the federal government on gender responsive ICT policies
The ITU Girls in ICT initiative has consistently provided an excellent platform for Martha to reach out to thousands of girls across the country, motivating them to pursue technology related careers as leaders, creators, innovators and inventors. Martha started equipping teachers since 2002 and by 2014, she officially launched the teachers.ng platform enabling her work very closely with Nigerian teachers to bridge the leaky pipeline in country. No fewer than 6,000 teachers have been directly imparted by teachers.ng by December 2019, reaching more than 320,000 underprivileged, marginalized children and adolescents, with girls comprising over 55% of beneficiaries since inception.
In 2018/2019 Martha is driving an intervention to directly reach 20,000 Nigerian girls by 2022 with computational and leadership skills to equip girls for the fourth industrial revolution. Martha also worked closely with the Nigerian Government through the Ministry of Communications in the establishment of the Digital Girls Clubs across the country. She also played a key role in the introduction of Technovation Challenge in Nigeria, leading the first Nigerian Team to Silicon Valley, California in 2013 and running the program till 2017 coordinating up to 30 teams of girls. Each team comprised 5 girls who learnt how to build mobile applications that solved pressing problems in Nigeria. States covered included Lagos, Delta and Abuja.
Martha’s advocacies, projects and influence imparts every state in the country including key stakeholders who are actively engaged in her programs. WITIN’s 2012 Tech4D Forum brought in stakeholders, including government officials from across the country, top nollywood actors as well as international speakers. WITIN’s 2014 tech4d Forum brought in VIPs Abike Dabiri who flew in from Abuja to Lagos just to inspire girls as well as renowed Nolly wood stars like Gloria and Nobert Young, Eucharia, Omotola Ekeinde and others. Ann Mei Chang flew in from the USA for 2013’s .
In 2016, Martha relocated briefly to Awka, Anambra State where she joined the Department of Computer Science and IT of Paul University as Assistant Lecturer. The very first week of her resumption, Martha mobilized students to organize the first ever “hour of code – CS code week” in December 2016. It turned out to be a university event well attended. She also started the young coders club to motivate everyone in the school to code, especially the young women.. She grouped students on campus into teams, organized intensive tutorials for them on coding, web designs and animations and mobile apps development. She got students also from other departments like Chemistry and zoology to join teams and got them all to pitch their finished work in a university wide Computer Science Week event in December 2016, well attended by dignitaries and covered by national media
Martha obtained a bachelors in Computer Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, masters in IT and masters in Research and Policy both from the University of Lagos. She also completed Executive Education Program at Lagos Business School and obtained Certificate in Enterprise and Social Sector Management from the Enterprise Development Center of Pan African University
AWARDS, RECOGNITIONS, ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS