Join in on the hugest tech Celebration on March 7th 2015

It’s been 5 years since the iHub was started and AkiraChix was born.  It’s a good time to take stock of our achievements over the years and celebrate with each other.

iHub Turns 5

The iHub has put together what is going to be the largest tech party in Kenya, on the 7th of March 2015,  at the Arboretum grounds. Here’s the basic agenda for the day.

  • 2pm – 6pm – Tech Job Fair and Showcase
  • 6pm – 8pm – Food, Drinks and Awards
  • 8pm – onwards – Music and Party

We, as AkiraChix are proud and happy to be a part of this phenomenal event, and will be hosting a stand at the tech fair. There are lots of limited edition goodies up for grabs, so be sure to come visit and bring a friend too! ;)

For more details on how to participate in this event, head on over to the iHub community blog post announcement, follow the #5yrTechBash hashtag and @iHubTurns5 on twitter!

Tickets are flying off the shelf pretty fast, so please head on over to http://community.ihub.co.ke/fiveyears and sign up NOW!

Recapping the Gender and Technology Pop-Up Institute in Berlin

(Guest Post by Yvonne Oluoch, #IncYOUbateIT competition winner,  founder of Socially Keen Individuals Redefining the Tech Space (SKIRTS) and AkiraChix Volunteer)

Gender and technology workshop hosted by Tactical Tech attendees.

Gender and technology workshop hosted by Tactical Tech attendees.

On 30th of November 2014, I left for Berlin to attend a Gender and Technology workshop hosted by Tactical Tech Collective courtesy of Akirachix and Making All Voices Count. Most of you may be wondering why I had to travel halfway across the world for such a training ( I too, at first, wondered the same thing, until I got there.)

The training basically focused on the tools and tactics for digital security, tackling questions around the issues of privacy and security especially for techies ,Human rights defenders ,activists, journalists and bloggers. How safe are you while in the internet ecosystem? How vulnerable and exposed are you when going through the internet of things?

Throughout the week we tackled various digital security and privacy tactics to help us be more safe and private on the internet for our own sake. The whole training covered digital security which ran in two tracks, i.e having a technology background, you can train to be a digital security trainer or a privacy advocate where you create discussions around various toxic internet uses. These two tracks were between 9am-1pm then in the afternoon we looked at hands on skills on various tools, identified bugs and installed all the cool and new apps we could come across. In the evenings you had a choice of either doing a DS hackathon or chilling at gabi’s for some cold beer (Three guesses which option I chose ;D).

One thing the internet has been able to accomplish over the past decade is to harness freedom of expression in ways we could have never thought of or imagine. It’s because of the internet, that you are reading this blogpost some miles across the globe and it is because of this very same internet that our values and opinions can be disregarded and abused on a global scale.

Are you still asking yourself, why gender and technology? Our society is wired in such a way that your gender determines how you speak, when you speak and whom you speak to. Women tend to suffer more on issues relating to online freedom and are thus unable to hold discussions on online spaces without being harassed and trolled at with either the same gender or opposite. There are few safe spaces online for women to share their opinions.

This is one of the reasons why I began my S.K.I.R.T.S initiative. I’m not trying to totally disrupt the norms of society, but I do want to be be accommodating and give people a chance to speak up and be heard in a respectful manner, irrespective of your gender. Remember, “your freedom of speech should not infringe on my freedom of speech” We should accommodate each other in a respectful manner and this was the holistic stand of the gender and tech institute’s training. You’ll notice in the picture above, that we are wearing different faces in the photo. These faces represent any woman who has ever experienced tech-related violence and harassment online.

One thing that I would like to tell the outspoken, brave citizens of the internet is that there is hope and that you can easily and freely communicate and express those strong views that you possess without fear of being censored or tracked.

I plan on hosting a digital security meetup on 20th February 2015 at the AkiraChix space. The focus of this two hour event will be to introduce you to some of the amazing digital security tools I got to play around with in Berlin. Do join us by signing up on this eventbrite link.

Looking forward to seeing you then!

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 Women’s Conference: Gearing up!

We’re just about 3 days away from our very first Women in Tech conference happening at Panari Sky Hotel, and are uber excited about it! We’ve got a solid program of activities planned out for the day. Have a look!

We’ve also got a great set of speakers lined up such as:-

  • Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi, who will be our keynote speaker of the day
  • Nivi Murkhejee, co-founder and CEO, e-Limu
  • Shikoh Gitau, User Innovator with the Social Innovation team at Mercy Corps
  • Gladys Muhunyo, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Tangazoletu Limited
  • Monica Nthiga, Programme Officer, Africa – MAVC
  • Nanjira Sambuli, Research Manager at iHub
  • Brenda Wambui, founder/CEO of BrandAvenue and co-founder of Brainstorm
  • Njeri Wangari, multi talented published Kenyan Poet, Art & Lifestyle blogger and the founder of AfroKidz
  • Willow Brugh, co-founder and executive director of the NGO Geeks Without Bounds

Attendees will also get to meet and listen to finalists from our #IncYOUbateIT competition and vote for their idea of choice. These votes will weigh into the decision of who of the seven finalists will get to win incubation in the recently launched South to South Lab by the Making All Voices Count team.

What do you need to attend the conference?

Please carry your ticket confirmation information to the registration desk on 1st November 2014. For those of you on the waiting list should, we will communicate confirmation of your attendance by COB Friday 31st October 2014.

Other than that, come with your brains charged for an amazing day of learning!

Looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday!