Photography By: Charles Kituyi
Venue: Loreto High School, Limuru, Kenya
‘A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things’. These were the words of Grace Hopper, a former Navy officer who was also a Computer Programmer. She defied the odds, and that is what the Safaricom Women In Technology (WIT) seek to get girls to do…defy the odds. By holding the App challenge, girls in high school are taught to start thinking tech and pursuing careers in fields such as engineering, something that is still often considered a boys playing field. But it is changing, as I witnessed when I accompanied a team from WIT to launch the Inua Dada App Challenge at Loreto High School Limuru, Kenya.
Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) describes itself as a network of women working within technology related careers across the industry. (Visit www.womenintechnology.co.ke for more). I learned about their App challenge when they invited me to moderate the finals last year and I was blown away. Girls in high school, who had undergone basic coding sessions, were pitching their app ideas to a panel of individuals who are movers and shakers in the world on Technovation in Kenya. And they were nailing it!
Truth is, for many people outside of tech, it is an intimidating world to venture into. Not only because there is a whole other lingo attached to it, but there is also the notion that you should have studied it or have a clear understanding of it to become a part of it. I was one of those people, but I am slowly learning that you can demystify tech while learning about all the possibilities that it can offer to your business or your life. All the doors it can open, all the bridges it can build. The different world communities as we knew them have become a global village.
Seeing these girls empowered at such a young age will not only make them competitive once they graduate, but it will allow them to confidently venture into Technovation, maybe even build business cases that will solve some of the world’s problems!
We have now launched the first few chapters at the schools which will be participating in the App challenge this season and they are set to begin working on their apps in September. Their goal is to find a way to solve issues of some of the more vulnerable group of girls in Kenya, through the use of a mobile device. We will outline the specifics once the App challenge rolls out. Good luck girls, we are counting on you!