AfChix had its very first AfChix TechWomen Summit on 27th May 2017, under the theme: “A Spectrum of Opportunities”.
The one day event took place alongside the Africa Internet Summit (AIS) 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Africa Internet Summit (AIS), which every year, attracts internationally renowned Instructors,
Experts and Speakers to share the latest innovations and best practices in the Internet industry, consisted of seminars, workshops, tutorials, conference sessions and other forums for sharing ICT knowledge within the African region.
The AIS 2017 was different! For the very first time, as part of its two weeks’ programs, there was a whole day, activities-packed event aimed at connecting with and inspiring the young current and future women in computing.
AfChix believes that as it is Important to empower more women into the Technical Roles, so it is equally important to address some of the soft skills issues faced by women in their different environments, which issues could negatively impact on their active participation in the technical roles in the industry.
The objectives of the TechWomen Summit include: 1) Provide a platform for African Women in Technology to learn from each other through the various summit sessions. 2) Provide opportunities for network and inspiration for African Women in Technology. 3) Strengthen the AfChix Network through increased visibility of AfChix’s work and programs.
Organizations represented included: Private organizations, Women in Tech Initiatives, Telecom companies, Academia/Universities, Startups, NGOs and Government entities among others. About 50% of the attendees were young ladies at University.
We had a fun-filled day of presentations, panel discussions, lunch hour discussions and networking cocktail. The topics tackled during the presentations and panel discussions included:
Benefits of growing women in tech communities around the world
Creating change in Africa by using online, accessible tools
Cutting Through The Gender Divide
Educating and empowering women in technology in Africa
Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa Where are we now?
IT Women in Industry Work + Life balance testimonial for women with high career and a successful family life
We also had lunch hour table discussions where we had one on one discussions on:
1).The realities of funding women in Tech entrepreneurs in Africa 2).Salary parity: equal pay for equal work, are we there yet! 3). Internet of Things (IoT) 4).Security 5).Leadership and 6).AfChix
By the end of the event, a number of young girls in university had indicated that they were hearing about opportunities such as AFNOG training and FIRE Africa programs, among others for the very first time. They indicated interest to tap into and benefit from these opportunities.
MEN IN THE HOUSE
A few years back, during one of our annual Afchix career guidance seminars in Uganda, we received a small note written by a one 15 year old girl. In her note, she requested us to assist her and talk to her father to permit her to study Telecom Engineering once she joins the University. She shared with us the contacts of her parents. This girl was excellent at sciences, but for some unknown reasons, she said her father was discouraging her from pursuing what she wanted.
The girl’s testimony is evidence that parents play a major role in influencing the future of their children. Participating in such events as AfChix TechWomen Summit is, with no doubt, a platform where the men too, can learn a few things about some of the issues they may need to pay attention to. Our very first event attracted five (5) men, we hope for and encourage more men to be a part of this in future.
Thank you AFRINIC, AfNOG, ISOC, NSRC and the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) for the support.
CAPACITY BUILDING TRAINING AT AIS
AfChix was one of the grantees of the 2016 FIRE Africa Grants by AFRINIC. As part of the offers, on behalf of AfChix, I participated and benefitted from a very practical capacity building training on Utilization Focused Evaluation and Research Communication (U-FE & ResComm). Organized by AFRINIC, the two-day event gave us an insight to how we can integrate the U-FE & ResComm processes into our on-going projects.
Our project “Boosting the Pipeline of Information Technology through Role Modeling and Information Dissemination” is meant to inspire more young girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through shared stories of inspiration by Successful African Women in Technology.
As women in Technology, one of the biggest challenges is finding women who have the passion for technology the same as we do. We are faced with a lot of skepticism not only from men but from fellow women as well. Whenever you have discovered about a technology innovation that is really exciting, talking to one of your friends may sound boring to them and people start to wonder what sort of woman you are. Being in Technology means having a passion to read and explore.
My experience at the AfChix Tech Women Summit on 27th May 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme “A Spectrum of opportunities” was a great moment for me. I felt special and blessed to be amongst women who are passionate about Technology as I did.
Having attended an AfChix Workshop in Kampala, Uganda, am always looking forward to AfChix events and bravo to the Kenya team for organising such a wonderful event.
It was interesting to meet with some of the continent’s women in different areas in Technology, Network Engineers, Directors of ICT, ICT Advisor, IT Entrepreneurs, Programmers, Heads of Technology departments and so many more in one place. I was able to learn about their experience as women during the panel sessions as well as the from break time discussions. Indeed I was able to acquire a lot of knowledge that I hope will help me advance my career in IT
During the round table talk with Dr. Adeya (at the front, in specs).
Some of the things I got to learn were that, as women we have to create our own opportunities, just because you are a woman doesn’t mean you will be favored. Dr Catherine N.Adeya – Weya, a guest speaker talked about the words Yes and No. Yes means taking up an opportunity and delivering to your best, while No means the Next Opportunity. They are just words. Due to fear and lack of confidence women always shy away from taking up challenges.
On the topic: “IT women in Industry Work + Life balance”, the successful women in IT got to share how they have been able to build a successful IT career and have a successful family life. There are alot of sacrifices as women that we have to make both at career level and family, but at the end of it we have to make it happen.
As with all conferences and workshops, it was a great pleasure to meet people from different cultures and countries bringing along their experiences. I urge all young women in IT and those already involved to always seize such opportunities for their benefit in future. I hope to meet you all once again in the next AfChix event.
A total of 340 students from nine (9) girls’ schools from different parts of the country did attend the seminar. The schools included: Testinomy school, Muthetheni Girls High School, Materi Girls Secondary School, St. Angela’s Girls Secondary Schiool, Makueni Girls High School, Masinga Girls Secondary School, Kianda School, Apostolic Carmel Girls Secondary, Moi Tea Girls School
The event took place at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa on 24th September 2016, from 10:00am to 4:00pm EAT. The activities for the day included: Mentorship sessions, Questions & Answer sessions, Group discussions and lots of individual interaction between the students and mentors
Guest Speaker: Richard Moon, a Partner Technical Account Manager at DELL
Topic: Lessons learned as a Software Professional
Objective: To inspire students already into the ICT industry
Location: Resilient Africa Network (RAN) offices, Kololo, Kampala
Target Participants: University Students pursuing Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Information Systems and related courses.
Brief Overview: AfChix Africa Women in Technology partnered with ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and hosted Richard Moon. Richard specializes in Cloud Data Integration using the Dell Boomi platform (www.boomi.com) and works with strategic partners to ensure their success integrating leading cloud and on-premise applications. He shared with the students about the lessons he learned during his 30 years as a Software Professional.
Richard Moon has been delivering enterprise software solutions for over 30 years. His roles have included Software Engineer (COBOL, Java), Project Manager, Development Manager, Product Manager, and Professional Services Consultant.
Some of the technologies that he talked about include:
Cloud, IAAS, PAAS, SAAS, Linux, Java, Service Oriented Architecture / Web Services (SOAP, REST), Data Integration, Database and WordPress etc.
Ms. Nodumo Dhlamini (center) with some of the Girls from AfChixUganda
Afchix Uganda was originally born as LinuxChix Uganda. It came about after a group of women led by Dorcas Muthoni and Ana Badimo met at Kalangala Island in Uganda in January 2006. Evelyn Namara and Lillian Achom championed the formation of LinuxChix Uganda. Evelyn was the board member for Eastern Africa on the LinuxChix Africa Board and Lillian Achom was the Council Member. AfChix Uganda was re-organized in 2009 and is led by Lillian Achom. When Ms. Nodumo Dhlamini came into Uganda in January 2009, she sought out Evelyn and Lillian and they agreed to rejuvenate LinuxChix Uganda under the name AfChix Uganda. Their simple goal is to give back to the community by supporting girls and women to succeed as IT Professional.
Passion for Mentoring Girls
Ms. Nodumo discovered she was passionate about young girls while working at Africa University in Mutare Zimbabwe from 1999 to Dec 2008. She found herself drawn to support girls in the IT Department as well as support girls in her role as part-time Assistant Warden responsible for female hostels.
In Uganda, Ms. Nodumo believes AfChix Uganda has done some good work – visiting schools to talk to girls about careers in Information Communication and Technology (ICT), celebrating girls in ICT days, identified girls to mentor and held their hands, held meetings to strategize in developing proposals for funding and met to draft conference papers for international IT related conferences. As the girls did all this, they had immense fun, became a family and learned from each other.
What kind of AfChixUg do you see in the next 5years?
Ms. Nodumo would love to see each Afchix Uganda member picking one girl every year to mentor. Mentorship does not have to be stressful – it can be checking on your mentee regularly, identifying opportunities for that mentee to participate in, giving career advice and supporting them if they are going through a hard time at school, college, work or personal life.
She would like to see Afchix Uganda champion the holding of an international conference for women in IT – something like a version of Grace Hoper Conference for Women in IT in Africa.
Finally, she would love to see the AfChix Uganda social media platforms growing to e.g. 8,000 Facebook likes and 10,000 Twitter Followers.
Rewarding efforts: Mentorship goes a long way – Nodumo’s legacy.
Here are some testimonies from the girls.
Lillian Achom: Lillian’s interaction with Ms. Nodumo dates back in 2006. In about six months’ time, she will be celebrating ten (10) amazing years of quality friendship with her. Over the past years, she has found Ms. Nodumo to be a dynamic woman who by heart, has a unique insight and tremendous ability to connect with people, inspiring and nurturing them to move in a positive direction; Ms. Nodumo is devoted to taking the time to understand your goals, dreams and aspirations, is dedicated to your success and finding new ways to support you. One of the very important moments in Lillian’s life was her education. She would not have got scholarship to upgrade her studies had it not been for Ms.Nodumo’s devotion.
Ms. Nodumo’s seemingly endless “You can do it” enthusiasm and generous spirit brought a new meaning to Lillian’s life. By keeping her focused and accountable, yet providing an unbiased point of view, Ms.Nodumo has provided her with a clear vision of where she is going, defining what she wants and her future. Being close to her, Lillian has learned to: be a leader, have patience, live by example, positively impact the society she is in irrespective of our background, always give her best, love and care for those around her. Lillian has learnt that a good manager is never too busy to listen.
“I want you to know that I always looked forward (and still look forward) to meeting you always because I knew I would learn something important from you. Thank you so much for the many wonderful things you have done in my life. Your advice and deeds have made profound difference in my life. Together with the team, we promise to take Afchix Uganda to the next level.” said the grateful Lillian.
Lisa Katusiime: Lisa a Software Entrepreneur. While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering at Makerere University, she was introduced to an amazing woman (Ms Nodumo) by a friend Emily and she is blessed for having met her. Lisa testifies that she was always afraid of speaking in front of large crowds but when she joined Afchix, She BELONGED to a group of ladies that brought out the best in her. This boosted Lisa’s confidence and she is now able to present at larger gatherings like the Grace Hopper Conference (2013), TEDxKiraTown (2015) and was currently profile on NTV Uganda. Lisa is grateful for Ms. Nodumo’s words of encouragement, “It doesn’t matter whether they refuse but they get to know about you every time you knock at their door” that has enabled her to keep going even when she gets NO everytime she is advocating for her startup – AgroMarketDay. Lisa is now her own boss today because of you Ms Nodumo #ThankYouNodumo.
Viola Bazanye: Viola a software engineer by profession, she first heard about Afchix from a friend and classmate called Emily. Emily mentioned to viola and a group of other friends about a very inspiring lady she had recently met and invited them to meet her as well so that they too can be inspired. This lady was Ms. Nodumo Dhlamini. To this day, Viola’s life has never been the same ever since she met Ms.Nodumo. “I can confidently say that I am pursuing my dream career of User Experience design because of her. All the conferences and opportunities that have come my way, that have inspired me to be confident in my own right and to never give up on my dreams, all were made possible by her influence”. she hinted with a smile. When She looks back five years ago, viola says she would never have thought she would be where she is today if it wasn’t for Ms.Nodumo. She is very grateful to her because of that. #ThankYouMsNodumo
Emily Nemy: Emily first met Ms. Nodumo in an office that once belonged to a mutual friend of theirs. “She was graced with so much humility and kindness in her voice. We had a little chat about my education and exchanged contact details.” Emily remembers fondly. This marked the start of an amazing journey, as Ms. Nodumo was willing to be her mentor. Ms. Nodumo had confidence that Emily would make it in life. “She constantly reminded me of how amazing I was and believed in me. Ms. Nodumo introduced me to a different perspective of technology, read all the versions of my curriculum vitae, edited our first paper to the Grace Hopper Conference, was willing to respond to my messages at 5am and her passion to help ladies stole my heart. She made a huge part of me and now I have a task to make another life full of potential”. Emily affirms
Shakira Ndagire Seruwagi: Shakira was just any other software engineer until January 2014 when she met Ms. Nodumo through a training by Afchix ladies at Thoughtworks Uganda. Shakira remembers Ms. Nodumo asking her if she wanted to join. She accepted immediately since she had been given a brief introduction about AfChix. This was a life changing experience for shakira learning about social innovations that give back to the community for example Afchix solicitated funds and set up a world class computer laboratory for the Uganda School of the Deaf. The group, especially Ms Nodumo gave Shakira the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Conference in USA through exposure, continued assistance when writing the proposals and scholarship recommendations. This strongly boosted her love for technology after meeting awesome ladies in ICT from allover the world .
“Meeting the various members of Afchix who have made it in technology as Developers, Systems administrator, TechEntrepreneurs changed the perception I had that hard things were for boys and easy ones for girls.This encouraged me to preach Technology to all girls that i meet since this opened my eyes to reality.” Reflects Shakira. Afchix is also fun since we engage in activities ranging from meeting young girls and telling them about ICT and life skills, organizing events like Girls in ICT day,Afnog, having photo sessions, meetups, mentoring, being there for each other and so much more. “I am grateful to be apart of the Afchix family, thanks for changing my life for the better and we will continue to put its flag high.” she said.
In Uganda girls or women need direction despite their potential, they lack mentors to help them live to their full potential. This changed when Liz met Miss Nodumo and Afchix. She met Ms. Nodumo in her third year at Makerere University. Before she met her, Liz was merely studying to complete a course, something that many girls in Uganda do because they do not have mentors to help them visualize. “I had no career vision and ambition. I was barely informed of what I could even accomplish or the opportunities that the world had to offer for people, and girls in ICT.” recalls Liz.
When Liz met Ms. Nodumo she was in the process of establishing Afchix Uganda chapter and she was looking for girls who were “passionate about ICT” to mentor them and help them live to their full potential. She joined Afchix and suddenly had a vision for her life. She knew who she wanted to be and where she wanted to take her career.
Liz testifies that Ms.Nodumo opened her eyes, taught her to always look forward and to aim high. “She taught me the importance of passion and what it actually means to be a leader. I joined Afchix because I wanted to be close to her and to be like her because I had never met a lady like her, successful, composed, passionate, focused and selfless.” Ms. Nodumo with her contagious personality made Afchix Uganda what it is. Afchix has taught Liz what it means to work with passion, the true importance of mentorship, teamwork, hard work and to believe in oneself. She has learnt to aim high and that the sky indeed is the limit. #Thank you Nodumo,Thank you Afchix Uganda
AfChix Uganda would like to thank you Ms. Nodumo for your Leadership, Guidance, love and untiring efforts to mentor Girls and see them blossom into Confident women. We wish you the very best in your next chapter. #ThankYouNodumo is our way of saying thank you.
As part of the global movement to celebrate the international girls in ICT day, on Saturday 18th April 2015, AfChix Uganda held a career guidance workshop with girls from Iganga Girls School in the Eastern part of Uganda.
The event was held at the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology. The girls who attended the event were between the ages of 12 and 14. To create an environment in which the girls could easily and freely relate and interact with the speakers, we opted for young techpreneurs and other engineers (below 26) to inspire them with their testimonials about their experiences and startups.
The event started off by giving a brief overview about the Girls in ICT event and why it is celebrated worldwide. There was also a video session, where we showed the girls the recordings of the different Afchix women in tech members talking about themselves (what they studied, what they do in terms of jobs, words of encouragement to upcoming women in tech) and also showing each of them explaining to the girls about a specific career in ICT. This was specifically to motivate the girls and to expose them to the various career options in ICT.
We also had a session for questions and answers, a more engaging session, where we had the girls freely ask as many questions as possible. A panel of young Afchix women in tech including System Administrators, Software Engineers, Network Administrators, Techpreneurs, Website developers were available and answered all the questions raised by the girls.
According to the feedback we received, over 95% of the girls indicated that the most interesting part of the event was the video. They indicated that the video showed young girls who inspired them as they were explaining the various ICT career options, their experiences and achievements. The majority indicated that they had learned of various new careers in ICT that they were not taught in class and that their negative attitude towards ICT changed. One of the girls wrote “I didn’t believe in getting anything good in ICT. I thought the only career in ICT was teaching, but now I believe one can really be special and big in ICT”
A very big thank you to our sponsors: Richard Moon of Dell and supporters of Afchix Uganda.
THE IDEA & WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
We would like to celebrate the International Girls in ICT day on Saturday 25th April 2015 and invite 1000+ girls from rural schools in Uganda to participate in a one day seminar. The International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative backed by all International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Member States. It aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).The Afchix Uganda community of women considers gender diversity in the Computer Science & ICT industry very critical for increased creativity and innovative performance of the industry. We believe that by exposing these rural girls to possible career opportunities in Computer Science & ICT, we will empower them to join technical fields confidently.AfChix Uganda is a chapter of AfChix Africa women in technology. One of our goals is to network with young girls and encourage them to consider careers in Computer Science and other technical fields.
In 2013 the AfChix Uganda community held 4 career guidance seminars targeting 1,250 girls from 4 urban schools. The volunteering AfChix members visited these schools on different dates. We learnt that such career guidance seminars were very important and would also benefit girls from rural based schools. We also learnt that it would be more economical in terms of time to get the girls to converge in one venue on a selected day. This would enable us to invite successful African women in technology to share their experiences and inspire the girls to pursue and excel in Science and Mathematics and hopefully gain entry into Computer Science and other Engineering careers. We shall give the girls handouts with information about the various careers in Computer Science & ICT. We will also interact with them and respond to their questions.
HOW MANY GIRLS WILL BENEFIT
More than 1000 girls from rural based schools in Uganda
We have secured a convenient venue for the Girls in ICT day celebrations at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Uganda. We have a dynamic team who are ready to volunteer their time to help with the logistics. As their commitment to this event, the respective schools are facilitating the transport for their girls to and from Uganda Christian University. Please help us to inspire 1000 girls.
This is the breakdown of our costs:
Printing & Stationary – USD 1100
Refreshments – USD 2,770
Promotional materials – USD 960
Public Address System & Tents – USD 1000
Power back up – USD 400
Transport and Communication costs -USD 370
Thank you gifts for Volunteers – USD 400
Total Budget: USD 7,000
If we receive USD 7,000 we will invite 1,000 girls from rural based schools in Uganda between the ages of 15-17. If we receive a smaller amount, we will scale back the number of girls to attend, accordingly.
African Network Operators Group (AfNOG) is a forum for technical coordination and cooperation among African Internet service providers and network engineers from the region’s universities, research institutions, and industry.
AfNOG aims to build a community of engineers to help each other operating Internet Infrastructure in Africa, and on the Global Internet as well as promote the discussion of issues relating to implementation of new networks and communities that require community cooperation.
AfNOG recently concluded its first training in Uganda in partnership with AfchixUganda. Thirty participants attended this training which was hosted at the Uganda Women Network. During this week, a special Dinner was hosted at the Lawns with guest attendance from the Vice Chancellor of Uganda Technology & Management University, Professor Venansius Baryamureeba. Below are the Online discussions of what transpired during the week of 10-14 November, 2014.
Our mission is to create an exemplary organisation and network of African women in tech with a desire to inclusively provide: opportunities, mentorship, and capacity building while inspiring younger generations.