Today, International Women’s Day, is a day the world acknowledges the role women play in the society on a large scale. I get to spend the day with some youngins from different girls high schools in Kenya at the Microsoft Digigirlz event.
Today, we focus on the girl child who could be a toddler, a teenager, a college student, a working class lady, a mother, a grandmother – all collectively making up the women in the society.
Being in the IT industry, I choose to highlight and appreciate a few women who have fought through odds to be where they are. They are an inspiration, not only to their peers but to other young girls in primary and high school.
I have known Fridah Oyaro for the last two and a half years in her capacity as both my student and a consultant( yes you heard that right). This aggressive young lady showed lots of interest for the Akirachix training program back in 2011. Coming from a very humble background, so humble that I once dropped her home and I almost turned back with her to my house. Interestingly this never deterred her, it was actually a source of motivation, and this led to her being the best student Akirachix class of 2013. It did not end there, her attitude and openness has led to enormous growth, and she is now among the best designers sought at the iHub, currently consulting with her alma mater – Akirachix. She is our in-house designer and a role model to the current Akirachix class. To know more about her and her work visit her profile here
I love working with young ladies and Wangechi Mwangi caught my eye back in 2011 when she was in her last year at Precious Blood Riruta. She is not only smart, but she is also aggressive and highly opinionated, the kind that believes in herself and will not see a problem go without a solution. We managed to safely secure Wangechi to the IT industry – she had earlier been thinking of being an economist and her parents were also encouraging her to take up medicine. Her parents had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that she was going to “waste” her A’s on another career besides medicine. Nonetheless, she fought and secured herself a full scholarship at Strathmore to study BBIT. This course is an interesting blend to her new found interest in technology and passion for economics.Currently in 2nd year, she is already providing a challenge to other university students. She has teamed up with two fourth year students to start a virtual stocks trading platform called Valuraha, read more here. I once jokingly said, she might be our next college dropout turned billionaire; she has what it takes to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
“Never judge a book by it’s cover.”. Many a times, we meet people and make conclusions about them, which end up being wrong after interacting with the person. I met this young lady – Cynthia Abura back in 2012. From our visits to Precious blood for outreach, I had identified two girls who were really interested in technology and I knew the only way to keep this fire burning is mentoring them, keeping them engaged and showing them its possible to make it in the technology industry. Later in the year, I came across Google code-in competition for kids under the age of 17 through the Systers Network. I became curious and asked one of the two girls to give me a few of her classmates she thinks would be interested to participate. I got four and one of them was Cynthia. By the time she was coming out of high school she was a music student and her career path was in that direction. After signing them up for the competition, three of them would come to the iHub where we worked from, as the challenge was Internet based. Cynthia had to go to Uganda and see her parents and this meant she would miss out on mentorship – I was worried she would not continue with the competition but surprisingly among the four she was the best, even got a prize from Google. Read more about Google code-in 2012 here. Now this is ambition, passion and determination. Currently she is a first year student at University of Nairobi studying computer science and you will find her trying out other coding competitions and playing with new gadgets – she comes to play with my pair of Google glasses and is working on building an app for glass.
Today I celebrate these young women, they epitomise success in the society, inspire me and the rest of the AkiraChix team, and also give me hope that one day the ratio of men: women in technology will shift. It might take time, but we will get there, one Akirachic at a time.
Deadline: March 31, 2014
Akirachix invites Kenyan organizations to submit applications for its proposed research project.
Who can apply?
- Local organizations registered in Kenya that produce or share knowledge for development. Individuals are not eligible.
Other important things to note
- Research projects must have at least 120 days between the call deadline date and the project start date.
- Grant duration can be anywhere up to 10 months.
- Applicants will be asked to provide an explanation of the potential impact of activities within Kenya.
- To apply read the call document (PDF, 95KB) for more information.
Questions? Contact us email@example.com
Mobile East Africa 2014, the fourth East African edition of the most progressive and interactive mobile focused events in Sub-Saharan Africa, returns to the Southern Sun Mayfair Nairobi, Kenya on February 12th through 14th.
The event will feature the very best local and international speakers from organisations including IBM, Jumia Kenya, iHub, Virtual City, FrontlineSMS, Praekelt, SAP and Airtel. World-renowned mobile expert Tomi Ahonen will deliver a special address during the main conference, as well as a dedicated full-day workshop on Friday, February 14th.
Full details on the packed agenda, fantastic speaker faculty, unrivalled past attendee feedback, unique interactive roundtable format and stunning venue can be found at www.mobileeastafrica.com.
AkiraChix contacts are entitled to a 20% discount on attendance using code 1MEAAC. Independent developers, startups and NGOs are entitled to a 50% discount – email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
We have two new additions to the AkiraChix Team.
Samuel Wachira joins us as the Business Developer, responsible for helping to build our business model. Prior to this, he worked as an Investment officer in a Venture Capital firm where he managed the company’s portfolio and investments. Sam graduated with a double major degree in Finance and Marketing from Strathmore University and is currently pursuing his masters in Strategic Management at Daystar. Sam prides himself in being part of Kenya’s best dance duo in 2009 KTN dance competition “Can you dance” and being taken to Egypt to learn belly dancing (Yes, you read right ). He prides himself in being the first AkiraDude and believes in the power that comes from humble beginnings and building foundations that will last beyond his lifetime. Sam is also an avid basketball player and displays his skills by living vicariously through Lebron “the King” James from the comfort of his couch.
Mercy Ng’ang’a is CPA-K certified and joins us as an Accountant. She describes herself as an Aggressive, and enthusiastic go-getter who is eager to learn. She is passionate about contributing towards empowering women in technology and is looking forward to working with AkiraChix. She loves swimming, reading books, cooking and enjoys travelling.
Welcome aboard, Sam and Mercy