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Web Muses in Africa

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Webmuses took part in AfricaHackTrip a journey to explore East African tech community. we visited 4 countries: Kenya we visited 4 countries: Kenya, Uganda, we visited 4 countries: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, we visited 4 countries: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania. with a group of developers and designers we meet a huge group of women working in ICT Let's meet some of them! Martha Chumo, founder of Nairobi Dev School She couldn't attend Hacker School in New York City, so she decided to found a dev school in her hometown. It's not the typical school, it's called "school". It's not the typical student-teacher thing, it's a community, a tech community in Nairobi, just kind of doing the thing together. So it's going really well, better than I actually expected. It's so much easier to manage and organize stuff, cause people are already there, and they always get to class earlier than the teacher. It's in the process of getting better, but for now it's almost all the structure we have. It's a 12 week program using Ruby on Rails and reusing other people's tools. My hope for the Dev School is that it's going to be a start for Africa started to come with its own solutions, and it's not, you know, we, people with no dev school, so sad - it's more of just a starting point of growth and students to be able to start thing, actually realise they can start things and then work well, and that's how everything is started. People just have to kind of put their minds into it, put their time and resources into it, and yeh organize it and just do it. There's no drama for that. It's a vague idea but, yeah, that's what I hope the Dev School kind of be. Jessica Colaco, Director of Partnership at iHub She's passionate about UX research and courts local and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made solutions. My 20% time is actually Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist. So when I'm not in iHub I'm actually evangelising and pushing for engineers to get better skill sets and encouraging more women who study these areas to stay in these areas, 'cuz we need more of them. Basically what the iHub acts as, we act as this connector for the technology community. We actually, like, catalyze. The idea is to provide a platform for communities to catalyze with each other. What do I mean by that is a startup meet a potential investor. And that has happened. So it's this organic kind of build of the community. So you meet your team members, you meet your potential investor, but you also meet your potential client, and your potential client might just not be a local client, it can be your international client. According to me, like, technology just works if you really understand what problem you're solving for the user. So it's very powerful. The moment you understand your user and create a user experience for them, you go a long way. Julliet Zoe Wanyiri, Gearbox & AkiraChix member As an "internet of things" maniac, she's a part of Kenya's open makerspace for design and rapid prototyping. We want a space where people working in electronics, arts, design and fabrication can come together and have access to the tools they could meet in the software, but they need to take their product from a concept through prototypes to actually being a product. I think that there's a sort of environment around here, where people encourage more women to do things in technology. They've set up Akira Chix, which is a group of women in tech and iHub community who go to mentor other women, to tell them: "So this is what we've been working on". And it's not just mentorship, they actually run a whole one year long programme for around 18 and 19 year old girls who just finished high school. So they just have this whole intense programme where they learn all what they need to know and then they can build their own solutions from there. Miriam Wambui, trainer of KampBits She teaches web design and development skills to improve the lives of less privileged children. After you graduate at KampBits, if you're successful to go to the final level, you get a diploma. With the diploma you can do web design, you can do animation, you can do CMS content management website, and we also do entrepreneurship classes, so some of the students venture to businesses, we have students who launched their own business idea, and recently one of ours students won $25,000 for her business idea. So I would say we lay a platform for the students. So I would say it has really been an interesting journey, considering I'm giving back to the youths, and I know how it is to be in class. I know how it is to be ambitious, and really hope for the best in life. So I try, personally, to bridge that gap, to mentor them, and to deliver, to give them all when it comes to training. Jamie Mayombwe, member of Girl Geek Kampala She takes part in building a community that promotes and celebrates women in the technology field. It started as an event, it was called Rails Girls, it was in January earlier this year. It was an initiative by the ThoughtWorks Uganda company. The first set of girls were from our class, because we didn't know anybody outside. We have trained our class so that's what we did. Then we opened up a Google Hangout page, a Facebook page and a Twitter account, where we could be able to talk to our other friends who wanted to join the community, and that's where it grew from. And it's been going on till today. This is where we usually meet, on average about 15 to 10 girls come. Right now we're training Ruby on Rails and we want to start Drupal training. Just show up, they give you a laptop, they give you the software that you need, they train you for free - yeh! Akaliza Keza, organizer of Girls ICT Rwanda She set up a company in Kigali - the place to be for developing ICT skills and starting a business. I came to Rwanda 'cuz an uncle had told me that there's so many opportunities for youth and for ICT and for women... I was like, this is perfect! I'm young, I'm in ICT and I'm a woman', so I was like, OK, I should come here. Maybe I should start a business and actually train some people and work with them instead of trying to do all this work alone, instead of starting to turn people down. That's when I was like, I think it's time to set up a company. I'm part of a group called Girls in ICT Rwanda, we started a couple of years ago. Sometimes we just go, like, just go to a school and the students just come and ask us questions about a career. Some of them have never actually seen a woman in an ICT field before, so it changes their perspective. They didn't have that many role models, maybe when they were growing up all the famous technopreneurs were all men. And for a lot of us it was just... we could remember one incident in our life that changed everything. When I was younger I loved the fact that I was the only girl in my computer class. As I got older I started learning why - that was many of them just didn't think it was a course that they could do, like, oh no, girls are not good at tech stuff, it's just a guys' thing. And like, I didn't realise that at the time, I thought they just maybe didn't enjoy it or something... So it changed when I got older, I started realising this is a problem. Before I thought it was something cool and nice, to be different, but now it's something I hope to change. Clarisse Iribagiza, founder of HeHe Limited As a CEO of a mobile computing company, she negates the idea that technology is not for women. When we started out, our vision as He He Limited was to just basically connect people to information that they needed. We thought up ideas, we brainstormed on a couple of solutions we felt were appropriate for the market we are trying to solve here in Rwanda in East Africa, and one of the biggest challenges we faced was the cost of just being able to put this solution. What we wanna do is be able to sustain it over time, train all these young people through the hackathon programmes that we have, the high school coding clubs, training young people on how to write code, so they can write code. At the end of the day great business solutions will come out of that and sustain the whole programme. For me that's what I'd love to see - more collaboration. If you wanna be challenged and figure out how to solve problems that you never even maybe thought would be there, this is the place that you'd definitely love to come. Carolyne Ekyarisiima, founder of Apps and Girls After a Rails Girls event, she decided to found her own project that encourages women to get interested in technology. We started communicating and doing a few meetings, yeh, and then soon we organized a full Joomla workshop. They really love it, and most of them they really want something which can connect them. So they have their colleagues every time and they're designing some things, they're participating in competitions. They are really passionate about it, even this TeknoMama women. They really come at us after the training, they stay behind to ask more and to learn more. It is really interesting. Like in my country, I come from Uganda, I not got any, any institution or any programme, which is helping women in technology. And in all our competitions, the hackathons, winners used to be men, these programmers used to be men, I never used to see any woman doing something great. So when I came here in Tanzania, I got together another group, where I can link myself to, as a girl. Because sometimes, once you're a woman or a girl and you're sharing together, you don't have this feeling "he's more smarter or he's competing with me" - no, we are all the same and we are doing one thing. I've really decided to do something for us, that can really help us. Fatma Meawad, Nokia She came back from UK to Egypt to tech computer science at university and work as a manager at Nokia. When it comes to hard work and commitment, women are the best. You know what, you might find that let's say the fifth is a man, for example, and he could be better in some brilliant things better than the first, who got the top rank, but this one studied better, this one did more hard work. This is a common thing that we usually say about women. We work harder. We commit harder. There's an exam, so I'm gonna study. A man might say "Ah, well, I'll get through it. It's just important for me to pass". A woman would be: "I wanna do the best". Well I can tell you that working as a software engineer, going and exploring the technology and the computing, starting a career in computing or technology - you're gonna have fun. You're gonna have money, many possibilities - I'm going around the world - so, do it!

Video Details

Duration: 12 minutes and 9 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Views: 128
Posted by: tertia on Jan 26, 2014

Web Muses in Africa

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