#IncYOUbateIT Competition in conjunction with Making All Voices Count

As you have probably heard, AkiraChix is hosting it’s first annual Women in Technology Conference(Sign up, limited spaces available) on November 1st 2014, celebrating african women in computing and discussing some key issues around women’s participation and contribution to the tech field in Africa. In honor of this event, AkiraChix and the Making All Voices Count initiative have launched #IncYOUbateIT – a competition open to applicants from Kenya with inspiring ideas, either proven or to be developed around gender equality themes.

The themes for which you can submit your idea are listed below. They relate to the Making All Voices Count  programme’s overarching goal; better governance, transparency and accountability.

+ “Our spaces. Our 
rights” – Securing women’s online spaces:

How does your idea target, track and/or address protection issues that women face such as harassment, sexism and violence? Does your idea enable more women to access online spaces more securely and reduce barriers for women and girls to participate in various forums online?

+ “Tech for Change” – Tech to address community/society/country governance issues:

How does your idea address a problem(s) faced by women and girls in the community, society and/or country? Does it encourage women and girls to access positions of leadership and potentially influence governance structures, policy or legislation?

AWARDS

  • Finalists will have be given ‘idea booths’ during conference day (November 1st 2014) to engage with present their ideas and engage with participants in strengthening their ideas
  • 1 – 2 winners of #IncYOUbateIT will get incubation support for their ideas from Making All Voices Count, with expert mentorship. Incubation will include preparation for potential innovation grants down the line, depending on (i) the development of a proposal strong enough to warrant a grant and (ii) demonstration of their capacity to successfully implement.
  • Winners will also have access to the South to South Lab space with internet.

KEY DATES

  • Applications close on October 20, 2014 at 23:59 GMT;
  • Finalists announced on October 24, 2014
  • Conference day and ‘idea booths’ on November 1, 2014
  • Pitching sessions and selection of winners on November 8, 2014

Ready to enter the #IncYOUbateIT competition? Submit An Idea!

Want to host a session at the conference? Submit a Proposal

Want to be part of the conference organising team? Sign up as a volunteer!

AkiraChix Women’s Conference: 1st November, 2014

AkiraChix is looking to host it’s inaugural Pan African Women in technology conference in Nairobi, on 1st November 2014(Venue to be announced). The overall theme of this event is to celebrate women in computing in Africa.

This event is set to target:-

  • Undergrad students
  • Women working in or seeking careers in the tech industry
  • Women in leadership

The aim of this event is to connect women from all walks of life, and provide a platform for them to discuss and tackle challenges facing women in the tech industry, as well as allow them to showcase interesting work they are involved in currently.

Activities of the day will include:-

  • Keynote presentations
  • Practical training and Break out sessions around the following themes
    • Programming
    • Design
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Security
    • Career development
    • Hardware
  • Two panel discussions featuring women in technology

How can you get involved?

Interested in being a sponsor for the event? Have any questions for us? Please get in touch with us via info@akirachix.com

Stay tuned for more details on speakers, venue and program of events in the coming weeks on our twitter, facebook page, blog and mailing list!

Have a great day ahead!

AkiraChix Design Bootcamp – August 2014 Recap

As always, it was a week filled with lots of creativity, fun and learning. A group of 20 girls walked into the AkiraChix space on 18th August, 2014 a little shy and green on graphic design concepts.

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Throughout the week, Nyandia Kamawe empowered these teenagers by teaching what it takes to be a designer, and showing them how to create magazine layouts.

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To cap it all off, we tried something different with this bootcamp. We sought to add a little competitive spice to motivate the girls to do the best they can with the skills taught to them in the last week.  On Friday. 22nd August, 2014, we held a mini-hackathon, breaking the girls into groups of 3 to tackle challenges revolving around:-

  • Food
  • Fashion
  • Techonology

The girls had 4 hours to develop an eye-catching magazine layout, as well as a presentation detailing a business model around the magazine project assigned to them.

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Presentations were made to a panel of Judges comprising of Nivi Murkhejee from E-limu, and AkiraChix co-founders, Linda Kamau and Marie Githinji, as well as parents of the bootcamp attendees.

The top two winning team took home great tech gifts, including a cash prize donated by e-Limu.

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“We walked in here a little shy, not knowing how to design. This has been an amazing experience, and I have learned a lot. I’m looking forward to the next bootcamp”, said Susan Ngoiri, a bootcamp attendee.

Huge shoutout goes to Nyandia Kamawe, our amazing design trainer of the week, Abigael Wangui from the iHub UX Lab and Linda Kamau for great talks that inspired the girls this past week, Joy Wambui, Fridah Oyaro and the AkiraChix training program student volunteers for their help in making this bootcamp successful!

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Photos from the event can be found on our facebook album here.

We’re looking forward to the next round of high school outreach activities once schools open in September, and ending the year with a huge bang! Stay tuned to our blog and social media streams for updates ;)

 

Akirachix Entrepreneurs: Where Vision Meets Enterprise-Cynthia Alwenga

 

Cynthia Alwenga, 19 years old had it rough. Her parents and older sibling were involved in a  freak car accident in 2003 that left her orphaned and taking care of her younger brother and nephew. Very early in life she had to learn how to fend for herself which led her to play football with Kibera Girls Soccer team for which she would obtain funds to take herself through school.

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I love my football!

The Kibera Girls Soccer organization became an education centre in 2009 in which she was able to enrol for her secondary education. She was only able to study full time for a short while because of her responsibilities as the only guardian to her brother and nephew. Inspite of all these tough realities, she remained an avid reader and a good student.

Against all odds she was able to study and sit for her KCSE examinations.

After which she was introduced to Akirachix training program by her teacher and trusted friend Bonface Nyamu.

The solar lantern making business began in 2010 for me. I was introduced to a person who made them through Bonface. I was His apprentice for three days and after the third day I was able to make the solar panels on my own. From the get-go, my goal was to make money to support myself and my siblings.

I was able to train a few students to make the solar lamps and also gave them samples.

They marketed for me the product and from there I was able to get customers.

My clientele mainly consists of students who use the the lamps in place of paraffin lamps and candles to study at night and other residents in Kibera where I live. They are also able to take the lamps to the rural areas and even come with orders from there. Thus my clientele grows still.”

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..with this lamp you do not have to make hay while the sun shines :-) ..flexibility is peace of mind… Study any time, no stress learning @1500Ksh….

 The lanterns have various ways through which they can be charged chief among them solar energy. The other ways include, dry cells, using a connection to normal household electric circuits and also hand cranking.

Hand cranking is the process of turning the hand crank to charge the panel.  Through turning the hand crank, magnetic energy is generated then converted to heat energy, which reaches the LED cells in the charger and it becomes stored as chemical energy which makes the charger work. It is easier at first to turn it but as you continue turning it you feel a resistance and that’s how you know it is fully charged.

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hand cranking in action.

The obvious advantages of using clean renewable energy notwithstanding, what sets her apart from other makers of solar lamps is the multi-purposefulness of the lanterns in that they can also double up as chargers for all types of phones, tablets and laptops among other electronic devices upon special request, of course.

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…charge your phone or other electronic device                        while working or studying…                          Value for your money @Ksh. 17oo

Furthermore, the panel and the lamp are separate therefore cases of theft are reduced since the person cannot steal the panel without the lamp. It would be of no use. Pretty smart of her!

The setbacks of this kind of business vary. The materials used are hard to find and are not ready to be used and sometimes incur additional costs for them to be made ready for use (having to buy the materials for the specifications given by various customers) . The clientele targeted are sometimes hard to reach because they live in rural areas that she does not have funds or time to access. The customers also complain of high prices which forces her to rent it out to residents for ten shillings a night.

However, the Kiva ZIP loan she received has made a huge impact in the acquisition of the materials needed for making her products and also distribution to the customers living in rural parts of Kenya.

Coming from being a street kid to where she is now, she is no doubt an inspiration to other young women who had a hard life. One of the things she is thankful for is the opportunity to train at Akirachix which enabled her to have the skills to create a website which she shall use to market her products more and reach more people in  need of her devices.

The words that she has for other budding entrepreneurs:

“Make use of what you have. Entrepreneurs are not born they are made.”

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Entrepreneurs aren’t born, they are made!