Herbusiness interview: Safaricom Women in Technology

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Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is a network championed by women working in the technology division of Safaricom. It was founded late 2012. It supports women to advance their careers in tech and advocates for more girls choosing careers in tech.

They recently won an award at the inaugural Zuri Awards held at Villa Rosa Kempinski. WIT won for their role in promoting women  access to and knowledge of ICT.Zuri Awards is the brainchild of Go Gaga Experiential Ltd in partnership with Barclays Bank of Kenya Couture Africa Magazine and Sochin Agency.

Photo Gallery: initiatives by Safaricom Women in Technology

They shared their story with us.

1.Tell us your journey at WIT‎

‎Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is an organization 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 the unused talent and innovative ideas sitting on the bench with our girls, whilst dynamic trends continue to emerge in the technology space. Striving to ensure the numbers of women in technology increases and stay (sic), WIT mentors females who have interest in technology related careers yet have limited opportunities. This program supports and gives a platform through which their lives can be transformed.

2.What are some of the reasons Kenyan women give not to get into tech?

Challenges lie in the lack of interest for Mathematics and any of the Sciences among school girls. An outlook fueled by a strong perception that these subjects are too complex.

The fear that they may not succeed in a male dominated field also comes out strong. Lack of role models that can hold their hands and walk the journey with them. More challenges affecting ladies in school are emotional trials and lack of basic needs. WIT understands this only too well and continually support through donations of sanitary towels.

3.What have been your proudest achievements at WIT?

In 2016, for the first time, 8 out of the 256 teams that participated in the global Technovation challenge qualified for semi-finals of the international challenge. Out of these, 1 team, Snipers from Precious Blood High School developed a transport app, M-Safiri that they defended at Silicon Valley, California. They emerged 2nd best.

Women working within Safaricom Technology Division

The number of females working within Safaricom technology division has increased steadily from 5% to 21%.

WIT has stepped out of its comfort zone to reach out and support ladies from marginalized regions. Upon interacting with and hearing the stories of early marriages and disrupted education in such areas, 1 female engineer from Mandera County was on boarded within Technology division with efforts at an advanced stage to onboard more.

In 2016, The WIT chairperson, Lilian accompanied the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai and her team in her visit to Dadaab, Garissa County to know firsthand the hardships the ladies there experience and join her in campaigning for female education.

Zuri Awards 2017

On International Women’s Day 2017, Women In Technology’s won the corporate category of Zuri Awards. These awards are in recognition of contributions towards the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Visit their website now, if you don’t hate them.

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Web Content and stuff. You can reach me you know: editor@herbusiness.co.ke, malitrobert@gmail.com