1. Was there something or someone who inspired you to participate in the program.

Yes, there was someone who encouraged me to participate in the program. Veronica Indimuli a trainer at ACWICT (The African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology.

  1. What did you learn?

There was a lot learnt from the Hackathon Event. From a personal perspective the most important lesson was Design thinking which is fundamental in formulation of a solution to any social problem. The discussion on design challenges for social impact, design hierarchy, user experience versus customer experience were quite an eye opener in understanding any system users and their needs. It is advisable to “Fail early to succeed sooner” and therefore the necessity to apply a human centered design and check functionality and usability before investing resources to build a product.

It was my first time to interact with Xamarin and C# languages under Windows 10 and I was particularly interested in the universal version that allows one to create native User Interfaces for mobile apps and desktop from the same code base. This was quite a cool feature.

I also acquired skills on how to formulate a value proposition to potential investors and a revenue model from a solution. Besides the training, I must admit that I received wonderful reviews for a 1 minute pitch to explain why only 5% of tech startups make it to the third year of existence. Besides the training, I was also exposed to different African cultures and through various interactions I learnt a lot from the common challenges African countries face.

  1. What were the other participants like? How did you relate to them? Did they inspire you, did you inspire them?

Right from the onset was the high energy levels and zeal to learn from all the participants. Although communication barrier was eminent due to varying languages and accents, we maintained friendly and very approachable relations. I was particularly motivated by a lady who made hand crafted items and although she had no technical background in ICT, she went through the training to establish innovative ways of motivating housewives to use technology in improving their economic status.

I have first-hand experience women who have dared fields that are male dorminated, because at work I am the only female developer in my team. I therefore used this avenue to encourage the rest to take up active roles in software and mobile app development fields.

  1. Can you tell us about anything that was unique or stood out during the training as well as visit?

This particular hackathon was very unique because all the solutions developed had to be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and had to present a social impact within Africa. Besides the training was hands on, with very active workshops and tangible results outcomes which were very empowering.

  1. How do you plan on using the skills at your place of work or community?

I have already started incorporating the design thinking aspect based on human centered design in our organization’s product development process. This was after drawing lessons from past experiences where we developed systems that we thought were needed by users only to discover were not needed because they were not custom for the African social needs. 

  1. Parting shot.

The possibilities presented by technology require collective effort from both men and women to generate brilliant solutions to our problems more so for the African Continent.