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The Climate Effect of Supporting Young Women in Tech

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A year ago, Mercy Birungi would have laughed off the idea of becoming a Software Engineer at KEIphone Global, an organization that seeks to bridge the digital gender divide by providing women with access to digital tools.

The idea of becoming not just a techie, but one who uses her skills to create impact and change in her community seemed both funny and impossible to Mercy.

For a long time, she felt crippled by the lack of opportunities to learn and gain the skills that she needed to get her foot in the door. She was a talented and willing problem-solving individual who simply lacked the opportunities to put her abilities to practical use. "I just needed a way to put all the buzzing ideas in my brain to paper and then to process," She says.

At the time, the only opportunities within her reach were voluntary activities in social work. Though helping others provided a wonderful sense of fulfillment, economic progress seemed out of reach and her dream of working in tech became fleeting. Like many young women and girls, Mercy shouldered the consequence of the lack of opportunity and the necessary hard skills to break through- a travesty that stunts the career growth development of many young women in Africa.

However, once Mercy enrolled in the codeHive program, the training she received slowly linked the gaps and translated them into the opportunities she needed to pave the way not only for herself, but for many other women in her cohort.

Today, she works hard to keep abreast of the changing needs at her workplace. She consistently delivers on her tasks — steadily amassing a track record of excellence despite being the youngest, and only female in her team. This comes as no surprise, but it is a matter of great pride for AkiraChix.

Now that she is an earning member of the family, Mercy has more financial freedom and her family’s financial status and livelihood has greatly improved. It’s a win-win that benefits not only her but her broader community.

Mercy is definitely a rising star, she carries herself with a gentle but firm confidence. An attribute that has enabled her remarkable growth since graduating from AkiraChix. She embodies the hope of change possible if only we invest more in young-women-designed learning solutions fit for the ever-growing and changing industry.

There is an urgent need to build the female talent pipeline across Africa. The difficult part of this is that there is so much work to be done. However, with so many young girls showing increased interest in tech and taking the risk of pursuing their dreams, then we can definitely make their success tangible.