This article by Hilda Moraa originally appeared at AfriHive and is published with permission.
Hilda Moraa presents 36 African women tech entrepreneurs initiatives, linked to tech hubs and other organisations across Africa. More to add? Please add initiatives and ideas in the comments below!
I think it’s time discussions and debates on whether there are few women in tech, their low participation in the tech hubs, or whether we should be developing more female based tech hubs across Africa, should take a different direction.
The true direction and goal should be for the existing hubs to start thinking through what is their priority and guiding principles in involving female tech entrepreneurs in their spaces. More importantly, figure out the gaps and needs of those young women to then ensure they have the right support systems and mentorship to help them scale and grow.
On this note, there is need to acknowledge few examples of African hubs already supporting or have programs/initiatives that young tech women can actively participate. The underlined problem has been, these hubs and the women initiatives as well are not doing a good job in sensitizing and reaching out to the few tech women entrepreneurs who want to be engaged and gain valuable support to grow their ventures.
African Women Initiatives linked to Tech Hubs
1. IHUB- Nairobi, Kenya with AKIRACHIX
Initiatives such as Akirachix was founded by a group of passionate ladies from the iHub community. Akirachix is an organisation that started out of the iHub and aims to inspire and develop a successful force of women in technology who will change Africa’s future. Akirachix has currently collaborated with iHub in hosting various monthly or quarterly events that target young women to give them exposure, mentorship and hear from role models in the tech space. Some of these programs include Girls in ICT day that is held every year and Mobile garage that aims to create sustainable businesses for the knowledge economy through mobile applications for development, business incubation and technology entrepreneurship.
2. Bongo Hive, Zambian with AKISANA NETWORK
Asikana Network is a group of females that started out of Bongo Hive, aiming to empower other young women in the field of technology. The group aims at assisting young women with practice for their new found skills through numerous methods such as placement after training as well as connecting Zambian females in technology. They have organized various meet ups and forums targeting mentoring and giving women exposure such as connect forum and hackathons such as the Women’s Rights Brainstorm and Hackathon that developed the Women’s Right Initiative by Asikana Network, WRAPP that serves to inform Zambians of women’s rights, which legislation backs them up and steps to take if they have been violated. – Find out more
3. Hive Colab Uganda with WITU (Women in Tech Uganda)
Women In Technology Uganda (WITU) started out of Hive Colab and aims to empower young women in Technology and Business by building capacity through training, mentoring and networking. In February 2014, WITU opened the First women focused tech hub in Uganda called the WITU Hub. So far they have trained 100+ young women in Tech and Business and graduated the first intake of school dropouts of about 74 ladies. WITU has different programs such as internship programs for young ladies pursuing degrees in the ICT field and external trainings in software packages, research among other areas.
4. TANZ ICT Tanzania with FEMTANZ
FEMTANZ is a four-month programme that started out of TanzICT and aims to provide business support services to women who wish to establish and grow their own technology-enabled businesses. The programme is funded by TANZICT. TANZICT stands for The Information Society and ICT Sector Development Project. It’s a bilateral collaboration project between the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology of Tanzania (MCST) and Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The project’s overall objective is a strengthened Tanzanian information society with enhanced capacities to contribute to the achievement of the Government’s socio-economic development goals.
Other African Women Initiatives not linked to the Tech Hubs
Other women initiatives targeting tech women entrepreneurs that are not linked to the tech hubs exist and some continue to do an awesome job in increasing the participation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Matehmatics) fields. Some of these initiatives can be found in the crowd map of Women Tech Organizations, an initiative by Asikana network. Also listed below:
– WMIAFRICA (Women who mentor and innovate), Nairobi, Kenya
– STEMAfrica, Africa
– Techwomen, Africa, Middle East
– Si Jeunesse Savait (SJS) in Kinsasha
– APC WNSP Africa Network, Johannesburg, South Africa
– Africa gender Institute, Cape town South Africa
– Pheonix Women’s Empowerment Centre, Mauritius
– Triolet Women’s Empowerment Centre, Mauritius
– She’s the Geek, South Africa
– Savana Signature (SavSign), Ghana
– Jjiguene Tech, Senegal
– Solar sister, Uganda
– Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
– Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Uganda
– Divas4Tech, Nairobi Kenya
– GirlHub, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda
– Women’s Net, South Africa
– The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment (GRACE) project in 12 African countries
We need to support and encourage the many women initiatives that already exist as mentioned above. In return, the women initiatives/programs also need to make strides in doing unceasing and an effective job in sensitization of their programs or initiatives to the targeted women groups as well as offering valuable support and opportunities to remain relevant and attractive to young women.
Something to add? Please add initiatieves and ideas in the comments below!