Promoting women technologists in Africa
Women in tech are one of the most under-represented groups in business, and nowhere more so than in Africa. A group of 12 like-minded women met as IT graduates in 2010, and set about forming an organisation to encourage more women to join the tech field through outreach programmes aimed at young and vulnerable people.
Technology is a rapidly growing sector in Kenya, yet women make up just 15% of the workforce. With the help of funding and support from Google and the Institute of Software Technology, the AkiraChix training programme targets those who need their help the most. Working with women in the slums of Nairobi, the programme teaches skills in programming, graphic design, technology training and entrepreneurship, not only to change the tech world, but also the lives of some of the poorest people in Africa.
Over the last five years they have succeeded in creating opportunities for 61 women, with 30 more graduating by the end of 2015. It’s a journey that can take students from not knowing how to switch on a computer to developing smartphone apps in a single year. At the end of the process they are matched with employment opportunities in the African tech world.
A high-school outreach programme has also reached thousands of school-aged girls, and culminated in the development of ‘Ujirani’ – a social media app to connect young people to the events happening around them, and ‘SKIRTS’, which aims to create safe social online spaces for women.
AkiraChix hopes to expand its programmes worldwide, and replicate the success it has had in Kenya. As part of this, a founding member recently joined US President Barack Obama at a global summit on entrepreneurship to raise awareness of their campaigns and activities. Head to their website to lend your support too.
Image 'An afternoon with Akirachix' coutesy of afromusing.
Last updated: 24th of November, 2014