Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is an programme of passionate women from Safaricom technology-driven divisions dedicated to inspiring women from different backgrounds to advance their careers from classroom to board room.
These efforts are geared towards creating an opportunity to tap into latent talent and innovative ideas sitting on the bench with our girls, whilst dynamic trends continue to emerge in technology. In FY18, WIT continued in its efforts to promote technology among learners, working with the full range of learners, from six year olds to 20 year olds and beyond. The programme for the youngest band, 6-13 year olds, was Kids-Go-Tech, who were taught to do a series of fun, simple technical experiments. There were 24 successful sessions in which 40 experiments were done.
750 children took part in Kids-Go-Tech.
For this category, WIT plans to hold events for children in urban informal settlements as well as extend to the regions. WIT also carried out its 47/47 High School programme, where it planned to reach 47 girls’ high schools in all 47 counties in Kenya with the aim of having them “see and believe” the reality of technology. WIT was able to reach 45 counties in FY18, reaching more than 2000 girls in Marsabit, Moyale and Samburu.
Through networking forums, WIT was able to reach 396 students, with 12 schools attending sessions in the Coast region. Follow-up in this area revealed that girls are fighting to stay in school until they finish secondary school as education for boys has more value. More than 320 students attended the sessions in Thika and the team was happy to meet one who had been scoring poor grades when she attended a similar programme in Thika two years ago but was inspired to do better and was now on her way to study electrical engineering at the university.
The Tech-novation Challenge also targeted high school students and involved girls’ high schools, with the students required to submit apps addressing specific problems. This was a local and continental competition culminating in an international competition at Silicon Valley. 65 teams were formed and 62 apps submitted. From this, 10 teams were shortlisted for the 2018 Global Tech-novation semis.Kenya was ranked fourth globally in submission behind Spain, Canada and US. WIT also conducted outreach on university campuses, using visits and in-house mentorships, hackathons based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, developers outreach, the Technology Academy, campus technology careers workshops, the Graduate Management Program and BLAZE brand ambassadors.
The programme reached 30 universities, both local and international and five university career fairs. It conducted 25 industrial visits and in-house workshops, two SDG hackathons and collaborated with the Daraja API team. WIT was also involved in the Technology Academy for value-added internship. The academy has had its sixth intake since inception and now reserves a quota for People Living With Disabilities and has started the uptake of trainers of trainers from the technology division. WIT coordinates networking forums and the target for the next year is to go beyond career mentorship to balance in the overall holistic life.