Team Memory Haven on course for Europe award

Sisters, Rachael (16) and Margaret Akano (17), Joy Njekwe (17), and Evelyn Nomayo

Alison ComynDrogheda Independent

The Memory Haven team is at it again, this time being shortlisted for a prestigious European award.

Local women Rachael Akano, Margaret Akano, Joy Njekwe and Evelyn Nomayo were all nominated by European Movement Ireland The Women of Europe Awards for the 2020 Women of Europe Awards, in the Women in Business category which recognises the achievements of women across Europe in advancing European integration with entrepreneurial spirit.

The team recently developed the Memory Haven app which offers support to the 500,000+ people in Ireland whose loved ones have been affected by dementia.

'We are surprised, delighted and very, very happy,' says Evelyn, who mentors young girls in tech to encourage careers in STEM areas. 'I must say I hadn't heard of the award, and then when I looked and saw that Margrethe Vestager, the Executive Vice President of the European Commission was a previous winner, I was even more excited.'

Sadly, the Memory Haven team won't be travelling to Europe for the awards this year, but there will be an online event where winners will be announced on Decemeber 2nd.

The awards seek to increase the presence and involvement of women in debates about Europe and its future. Each year women are nominated from across Europe and this year's pool of nominees has now been shortlisted to just 12 nominees.

The Memory Haven team was recently awarded the top prize and were the only European nominees at the 2020 virtual Technovation World Summit, which supports young women tackling community issues with technology.

The app was inspired by Evelyn's own mother Elizabeth, who sadly died in March, and had dementia for the latter part of her life. Nigerian-born Evelyn has loved in Drogheda for 17 years, and says she loves the town and its community.

'I love Drogheda - it is my home, and I love going into the schools and motivating the girls to get interested in STEM subjects,' says Eveleyn, who is who is the founder of Phase Innovate, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to bridging the gender and race gap in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) fields in Ireland.

CEO of European Movement Ireland, Noelle O Connell said they are both proud and honoured to see Rachael, Margaret, Jo and Evelyn shortlisted for this year's Women of Europe Awards.

'Their work has made a difference to the lives of so many people in Ireland with dementia and their families. Equally it is crucial that we support the efforts of entrepreneurial Irish women with awards and recognition of this nature,' she says. 'It is key that the voices of women from Ireland are heard at the European table and these awards offer a stepping stone to ensuring that this happens. Team Memory Haven have been leaders in paving the way for women in Ireland, in particular for young women and those from underrepresented communities, to succeed as they have in business and STEM. We look forward to this year's Women of Europe awards ceremony and hope that Team Memory Haven will take the award home to Ireland this year.'