Introduction

Today marked the official beginning of Ninaweza II Development Program with a huge turnout of 78 young women who came in for interviews.

In attendance were young women who had discovered about the training opportunity through the various platforms ACWICT has advertised and mobilized for including the just concluded Career Fair, The Ajira Program and our various Social Media platforms, networks and referrals. The applications were done online and accessible on all devices and platforms which made it easy for interested students to apply.

The young women who had attended the program entrance interviews were introduced to the program by Thomas Ayuaki, Master Trainer ICT and Andrew Rotich, Master Trainer – Vocational Trades.

“We do interviews for all our donor-sponsored training programs to ensure we accept only those trainees who will benefit from the training”, explained Rotich.

About ACWICT

During his introduction, Tom introduced to the young women in attendance to ACWICT, explaining that The African Centre for Women, Information and Communication Technology is an ICT for Development Organisation.

“We use the resources we receive from donors, to empower young people with skills in ICT as tools for sustainable development”, he explained, “We have trained 25,000 young people directly and over 250,000 through e-learning and self-study under the Tukoworks Platform.

He went on to explain that ACWICT has implemented such training programs in 13 counties across Kenya encouraging the attendees to share the program widely with others who need the training but may not be in Nairobi.

About the Program

Ninaweza II Program, a fully sponsored training program by Motorola Foundation, aims to empower 1000 young women by introducing them to programming facilitating their journey into Computer Science.

During the 3-month program, trainees will be provided with instructor led training, an environment to aid them in creative thinking and incubation of big ideas to create working prototypes that are investable. During the innovation week, at the end of their three months, they will form groups, begin the process of innovating apps while interacting with mentors who will guide them through the process of developing their ideas.

Other modules that will be incorporated into the training will include Digital Literacy, Internet of Things (IOT) and an introduction into Cyber Security.

Program Rationale

Female programmers in Kenya are almost as rare as unicorns with 70-80% of the coders being male. In most software companies you are most likely find one or two women in a team of up to 20. It’s a subject that has been passionately investigated, but simply shedding light on the problem hasn’t seemed to have made a difference. The alarmingly low number of women in software development has been well documented.

Plenty of seriously women programmers have contributed to the tech industry throughout history. Ada Lovelace is credited with being the first computer programmer in the 1840s. One hundred years later, Grace Hopper created the first compiler. In the 1970s, Adele Goldberg was on the team of developers who created the first object-oriented programming language

“As an Organization that has been at the forefront of championing for women, we believe that we can make a difference in this gender gap. It has been done before and it can be done now, here in Kenya with you,” retorted Tom

Programming is a great way for young women to generate income either by developing websites, apps and software either through employment or entrepreneurship.

Interviews

During the lengthy and thorough interviews that were conducted throughout the day, the interviewers were interested in finding out each girl’s career ambitions and how participating in the program would tie into their overall success. They ask questions that would help them determine their level of commitment, capability and genuine interest.

The training is expected to start on the 24th of January and run until the 25th of April.