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!

Kibera School for Girls pay AkiraChix a visit

3 years down the line of AkiraChix activities, we’ve dived into mentoring high school girls, and are now expanding that horizon to young girls in primary school. Remember us visiting the Kibera School for  girls a few weeks back? Well, last Friday, they returned the favor :).

AkiraChix organized for girls in 3rd and 4th grade to come over to the building that oozes technology from top to bottom: Bishop Magua Centre.First stop was the new AkiraChix training program class venue.The Kibera students got to see what the training program students were learning at that time. It was amazing to see two different generations of future women in tech interacting with each other.

Two generations of future women in tech

From there, the girls got to visit the iHub UX Lab, Ushahidi, iHub Research, MLab East Africa, iHub and the Nailab as well.

Emmanuel Kala, from Ushahidi, talks to the students about his work

iHub Research meets Kibera School for girls

During our last visit to Kibera, we talked alot about what’s been happening in the tech space, and presented opportunities available for the girls in future, but felt that it would only be fitting to have these students see for themselves, and get to interact with the different tech companies and tech leaders in Nairobi.

Thank you! :)

AkiraChix is grateful to the entire iHub and tech fraternity within Bishop Magua for their warm and welcome response to the girls visit, despite being ambushed, and for allowing the girls to interact with them. The AkiraChix team as well as the Kibera School for Girls students and faculty are extremely grateful :).

Photos from the visit will be made available soon.

MsemaKweli Wins AppCircus Nairobi

Kenya’s first ever AppCircus event was held on Saturday, hosted by AkiraChix and the iHub. AppCircus is a global traveling showcase of the most creative and innovative apps. Twelve finalists were given the chance to pitch their mobile applications to the eager audience.

Isaac Osiemo Winner of AppCircus with the MsemaKweli App

The overall winner was Msema Kweli, a mobile app that helps keep track of Community Development Fund Projects. It uses data made available by the Kenyan government through the Open Data initiative to track spending and progress by constituency. Users can then report and comment on the projects. The jury was impressed by the potential for the app to be used as a powerful citizen tool for transparency and accountability for any community and/or development project.

First Runners Up - Martin Kasomo of the Hewa App

The first runner up was Hewa,  a cloud-based, mobile music marketing and distribution platform for Kenyan artists and record labels to sell their music online. The jury was impressed by the ease of use of the mobile app and its attempt to tackle the problem of local music distribution in Kenya.

Second Runners up - Bernard Adongo of NikoHapa

The second runner up was NikoHapa, a customer engagement application for businesses that allows users to “check-in” to business and receive promotions. Judges were impressed by the social aspect of the app that allowed users to share news and check-ins.

The judges making the 'DECISION'

The jury was made up of a number of noted professionals in Kenya’s tech community – Dr. Joseph Sevilla of Strathmore University, Annie Njenga of Nokia, Idd Salim of Symbiotic, Alex Anderson of Frontline SMS and Maria Langat of AkiraChix. The judges were very impressed by the quality of the apps presented. They judged the applications based on the problem being solved, financial viability, scalability and user experience.

A section of the attendees

Post by Maria Langat

 

IPO48 winners: Akirachix going places

A group of Akirachix members won the first ever IPO48 competition that was held from 29th – 31st, a 48hr marathon to come up with applications. The girls came up with M-Farm, an innovative application that connects farmers, with suppliers, agrovets and cooperatives. Through the application, farmers get current market
prices , that are compared with market prices in other regions.

Linda listening to a presentation

 Susan and Jamilla working on the app

The Akirachix team consisting of Jamila, Susan , Kate , Linda and Nana said after they were declared the winners “We are excited that after 48hours , we were able to come up with M-Farm, and are going to develop it even further. It was a great opportunity to work together as a team… ” The judges voted for M-Farm unanimously, describing the
application as innovative, and a welcome product to the Kenyan market.

The team is looking forward to working together in the next coming months to launch M-Farm to the market. Speaking at the beginning of the presentation, Jamila said, “We are here for the farmers, and we care about them. Therefore we are developing M-Farm to enable the farmers to be aware of the current market prices,
and thus make decisions on buying and selling based on accurate market prices. ”

The winning team: Jamilla, Susan, Kate, Nana and Linda (not in the pic)

Follow M-Farm on facebook, and twitter. You can also see a video of the presentation here.

Akirachix is proud of the  M-farm team and we wish them the very best in this new and exciting venture.