Akirachix Graduation – Class of 2014

It has been a great one year and 3months. In September 2013, we began searching for girls who would join and benefit from the training program. As compared to the two previous classes, we managed to accommodate 30 girls most of whom were between the age of 19 – 24 yrs. The girls came from Kibera, Kabiria in Kawangware and Deepsea in Westlands.

October 2013, classes began; most of the girls had never used a computer before therefore the first 1-month was quite a rough one. From learning how to boot a machine, to typing and just getting comfortable with computers.

Fast forward to December 5th 2015, these girls are graduates and can now add a title to their names i.e. Graphic Designer, Web Design, Mobile Applications developer or Entrepreneur.

Apart from attaining a Diploma, the 26 graduates excelled, I can proudly say this was one of the most promising class and they did prove me right. In May this year, the students participated in a girl’s Hackathon organized by ACM-W in partnership with Akirachix. Participants were from the tech community including university students. We encouraged our girls to participate and their groups emerged winners and runners up.

It did not stop there, in October, a competition dubbed “INCYoubateIT” organized by Making All Voices Count; an Ushahidi led initiative was launched. The girls submitted their group projects based on their business plans and also other projects they were involved in during the year. There were 2 groups of students in the finalists list and On November 6th, the winning group was the girls who participated in the April Hackathon and the 2nd runners up was a class project.

This class has been exemplary and that is due to their hunger to learn, innovate and make it in life. By the time of their graduation, 5 of them had already secured internships in different organizations and one of them has a business running.

We are still working with the remaining girls to find placements for them, therefore if you or know of an organizations looking for interns specifically in graphic design, web design or mobile development, send an email to, lkamau@akirachix.com with the requirements and we will match that up with the graduates.

IMG_3712

Lots of thanks to the trainers for their tireless efforts to get these girls to where they are, the iHub for giving the girls the space to network, the tech community at the iHub for readily assisting the girls when they needed help, our motivational speakers, our mentors – you have all been a great asset to us.

Wishing the graduates all the best in the endeavors, the opportunities are endless and we are sure they will utilize them.

 

We are currently finishing up selection for the next class that starts in January 2015.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!

#IncYOUbateIT Competition: Including Women in Social Impact Technology

Together with Making All Voices count we held the IncYOUbateIt competition on November 7 that served to provide a platform through which women’s voices experiences and narratives are included in the conversation about social impact of technology. The participants in the competition had presented their projects at the inaugural Akirachix Women in Tech Conference on November 1.

ThePitchers

The #IncYOUbateIT participants with the MAVC and AkiraChix Teams.

There were six pitches on the day of the event:

  • Kona Mbaya, an application to that sensitizes Kenyans on the level of insecurity by highlighing safe and unsafe spots
  • Taka App, which offers a linking service to garbage collectors and recyclers that will enable them trade in plastic and metal.
  • PaireD -  a social network that will help link women & girls to opportunities and solutions.
  • Abero[dot]com – which provides access to information to marginalized women living in Turkana through very feminine information centres and gadgets
  • Rendile Girls Foundation who are helping create awareness on the problems facing the Rendille Girlchild and also seeking for solutions to these problems
  • S.K.I.R.T.S, which is a platform that offers a voice to speak out against violence on Women and Girls within our society.
  • Adding Women’s Voices to Land Legislation in Kenya – putting women’s voices at the center of legal reforms by supporting a Women’s Rights Task Force to advocate for progressive provisions in national/regional land laws,and ensure regional consultations address women’s rights and include their perspectives.

Two winners emerged from the completion Kona Mbaya and S.K.I.R.T.S. The team from Kona Mbaya is wholly composed of students from the 3rd Akirachix Training Program. Woop! Woop!

Kona Mbaya – An application that will sensitize people on security matters within Nairobi by mapping black spots and high insecurity places for women. The ideas was selected based on the fact that app can be scaled to focus on a number of security areas including alerts to relevant government authorities on incidences of violence and robbery. The idea is also practical in the sense that it can be linked to the justice system in Kenya and barriers to women accessing justice in Kenya following incidences of insecurity.

The Kona Mbaya team with the judges

The Kona Mbaya team with the judges

Socially Keen Individuals Redefining the Tech Space (S.K.I.R.T.S)- An initiative to address cyber bullying and cyber insecurity within the Kenyan online space; following increased cases of online spaces being used to perpetuate ethnic hatred and to attack ordinary citizens, celebrities, and politicians especially women. The idea addresses a central problem in the current Kenyan context on cyber bullying and perpetration of hate speech in Kenya. The idea could be scaled for legislative lobbying around online spaces.

Yvonne Aluoch of the S.K.I.R.T.S.

Yvonne Aluoch of the S.K.I.R.T.S.

 

Inaugural AkiraChix Women’s Conference Recap!

We held our Inaugural Women’s conference on 1st November 2014 at Panari Sky Centre, with over 300 people in attendance, including a few men and students from Ngara Girls High school and Kenya High School.

AkiraChix Women in Technology Conference: Celebrating Women in computing in Africa

AkiraChix Women in Technology Conference: Celebrating Women in computing in Africa

We also unveiled our new logo and branding.

AkiraChix Logo CMYK

“She builds. She serves. She leads”

Our keynote speaker, Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi kicked off the event with a breakdown of what it means for us to build, to serve and to lead.

Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi giving her Keynote Speech

Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi giving her Keynote Speech

Here’s a fabulous visualization that summarises her sentiments by Willow Brugh, who also served as a panelist in a discussion revolving around Securing Online spaces for women.

Visuals Courtesy of http://viz.bl00cyb.org

This talk was a great entry into the program of the day, with a panel discussion on technology for change featuring Nivi Murkhejee, co-founder and CEO, e-Limu, Monica Nthiga, Programme Officer, Africa – MAVC, AND  and Gladys Muhunyo, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Tangazoletu Limited. This discussion was focused on encouraging women to develop tools that make a difference in society.

Tech for Change

In the spirit of keeping the conference as interactive as possible, a huge section of the conference agenda was set aside for 9 breakout sessions after tea break and lunch revolving around design, career development, programming and entrepreneurship. A lot of cross generational mentoring and learning came into play during these sessions.

Using sticky notes during a breakout session

Using sticky notes during a breakout session

Breakout2

Invigorating discussions on entreprenuership

Design

Design thinking workshop in session

We also had finalists from the #IncYOUbateIT competition showcase their ideas throughout the entire conference, and put the public to vote for their favorite idea. Finalists from this competition include:-

  • Kona Mbaya, an application to that sensitizes Kenyans on the level of insecurity by highlighing safe and unsafe spots
  • Taka App, which offers a linking service to garbage collectors and recyclers that will enable them trade in plastic and metal.
  • PaireD -  a social network that will help link women & girls to opportunities and solutions.
  • Abero[dot]com – which provides access to information to marginalized women living in Turkana through very feminine information centres and gadgets
  • Rendile Girls Foundation who are helping create awareness on the problems facing the Rendille Girlchild and also seeking for solutions to these problems
  • S.K.I.R.T.S, which is a platform that offers a voice to speak out against violence on Women and Girls within our society.
  • Adding Women’s Voices to Land Legislation in Kenya – putting women’s voices at the center of legal reforms by supporting a Women’s Rights Task Force to advocate for progressive provisions in national/regional land laws,and ensure regional consultations address women’s rights and include their perspectives.

These finalists also participated in a pitching event on 7th November 2014, competing for incubation at the newly launched South to South Lab, and access to funds of upto £40,000.

IncYOUbateIT competition finalists pitching their ideas to conference attendees

IncYOUbateIT competition finalists pitching their ideas to conference attendees

We chose to wrap up the conference with a discussion around securing women’s spaces online, featuring Nanjira Sambuli, Research Manager at iHub, Willow Brugh, co-founder and executive director of the NGO Geeks Without Bounds, Brenda Wambui - founder/CEO of BrandAvenue and co-founder of Brainstorm and Njeri Wangari, the multi talented published Kenyan Poet, Art & Lifestyle blogger and the founder of AfroKidz.

Securing women's spaces online panel discussion

Securing women’s spaces online panel discussion

Below is a presentation by Willow Brugh, dubbed ”Weaponized Social”, which encouraged women to re-write social scripts to not include attacks, and remember that the beauty if the internet lies in allowing for conversations with people who we may not necessarily flock together with.

Presentation courtesy twitter.com/willowbl00 tag #WeaponizedSocial

Video recordings of the keynote session and panel discussions will be made available during the course of the week. We are also working towards getting all these presentations/notes taken during the breakout sessions available to the public within the coming week or so.

In the meantime, photos from the event can be found on our facebook page, and you can also follow tweets from the hashtag of the day #AWTC14

Thank you

This is the first time the team has embarked on running an event on such a scale as this one. All this would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors and partners Making All Voices Count, iHub, Anita Borg Institute, Ewamak designs and SIDA. The team at AkiraChix is grateful for the support and looks forward to even bigger collaborations in future.

A special thank you also goes out to our speakers and breakout session facilitators, who contributed towards making the event constructive and fun for our participants.

Huge thanks to Kevin Ouma from Picture This stories for amazing photo coverage of the event as well

Last but certainly not least, a huge shoutout goes out to our team of volunteers who worked tirelessly over the last few weeks, attending planning and co-ordination meetings, and making sure that our participants, speakers and facilitators were well taken care off during the entire conference. You exemplify the kind of women who call themselves AkiraChix by serving and leading.

Wrapping up the conference with huge smiles!

Wrapping up the conference with huge smiles!

We are looking forward to hosting an even bigger and better AkiraChix Women’s Conference in 2015.

Interested in partnering with us next year? Reach out to me via angela AT akirachix DOT com and let’s get the conversation going ;).

For updates on all things AkiraChix:-

For more information on how to get involved with AkiraChix:-

Have a great week ahead!

AkiraChix Training Program 2015: Call for Applications

We’re just about to wrap up this year’s training program class of 2014. Its been an amazing year of discovery and learning for our students, and we’re eager to see them run out into the wild and apply all the skills we have taught them over the past year.

We’re now looking for the next cohort of students to be part of the class of 2015, to begin in .

What are some of the main characteristics we’re looking for in these girls?

  • Successful completion of high school (Mean grade C- and above – KCSE Mock results also accepted)
  • Knowledge and passion for technology
  • Determination to succeed in life
  • Demonstration of inability to sufficiently finance their education

If you know anyone who is interested or fits this bill, please collect application forms from the AkiraChix office space on ground floor Bishop Magua Building, Ngong’ Road, or download this formDeadline for applications is November 14th, 2014.