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.