Day of the Girl 2015 Spotlight: Linda Kamau
To celebrate Day of the Girl 2015, we’re excited to share this update blog from Linda Kamau of Kenya, one of five young women who won a $10,000 prize through the Students Rebuild Awards featuring Half the Sky Movement. We established those awards to fuel global awareness and anti-oppression efforts by elevating the game changers working to improve the lives of young people in their communities. For the Students Rebuild Awards featuring Half the Sky Movement, we awarded prizes to young women who often go unrecognized, fighting bravely to improve life conditions for their peers and to end the oppression of women and girls in their communities and countries.
“We have been great and a lot has happened in the past year. We have been honored by to have Ban Ki Moon, President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Barack Obama visit our space and were very impressed with the work we do. In Ban Ki Moon's words...“This is the most exciting thing in the world I had never heard about. You are the hope of Africa.” After sharing a panel with President Obama and him learning about our work, his response was: "That's Fantastic!"
We would like to thank the President of Kenya, the President of the United States and the organizers of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit for giving us the platform to share the AkiraChix story. That moment on the world’s stage was a time to reflect on our collective journey and the impact we have had on young women in Africa. From this experience we have gained exposure to the world.
Judith Owigar, Marie Githinji, Angela Oduor Lungati and Linda Kamau (as pictured, left to right), founded AkiraChix in 2010 to nurture generations of women who build solutions for Africa through technology. In the last five years, we’ve created opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the technology ecosystem for 61 talented, yet underprivileged girls. Thirty more students are set to graduate in December 2015. Call for applications for the Class of 2016 will be opened in October 2015.
Our high school outreach program has seen us reach 280 high school girls through bi-weekly visits and training sessions in the last three years. We’ve organized three annual high school career fairs (dubbed Geek Girl Festival), with more than 500 high school students in attendance. We’ve also hosted six training boot camps during school holidays since December 2012, reaching more than 150 girls.
In our bid to grow a self-sustaining network of women technologists in Africa, we’ve seen our members grow to 750 through our meetups and online engagement. We’ve hosted two female hackathons that have given rise to ideas such as Ujirani, a mobile application that helps you connect with your neighborhood and updates on happenings in your surroundings. Our inaugural Women in Technology Conference brought together 300 tech enthusiasts for a day of learning and sharing and exposed organizations such as SKIRTS (Socially Keen Individuals Redefining Technology Spaces - seeking to secure women’s spaces online) to access to funding, mentorship and incubation to build their ideas. Our second annual conference is set for November 14th, 2015.
The AkiraChix model is one that has proven replicable in other areas (Asikana Network in Zambia). We are in the process of scaling and expanding our reach across Kenya, and Africa at large. We’re looking for partners who are interested in our cause to change communities, one woman at a time. Get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Linda Kamau, AkiraChix Co-founder and Programs Director