Tech Woman

Safaricom’s Women in Technology (WIT) initiative has partnered with Technovation to launch the 2016 Technovation Challenge.

Technovation is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring women in technology and entrepreneurship. The Challenge is the only competition of its kind in Kenya, and is fully sponsored by Safaricom Women in Technology.

Safaricom’s CEO, Bob Collymore said that mobile has the ability to transform lives in ways no other technology can. “By giving young girls an incentive to apply themselves to the issues they face using technology, we hope to nurture the next generation of home-grown innovators,” said he said.

This year’s program will see girls from 11 high schools work in teams of four to five to identify a challenge affecting a specific group of people. They will then develop a mobile-phone based application that offers a sustainable solution. Since 2014, over 700 high school students in over 22 schools have participated in the program.

This initiative is a 12-week app development and mentorship programme aimed at cultivating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies, as well as igniting young girls’ interest in ICT careers.

Finalists will win tickets to present their ideas at a global finals event to be held in Silicon Valley, California, which aims to promote technology entrepreneurship. The winner stands a chance to win $10,000 for further development and marketing of the app.

Safaricom Women in Technology initiative seeks to boost the number of employed women working in technical positions. The program has managed to record significant milestones since its launch.

“Safaricom currently has more women in senior roles in technology, 18% than the industry average across Africa standing at 11%,” Mr collymore said. “There are opportunities to extend those numbers as an industry by engaging more women to participate in the field,” he added.

Last year’s winners, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Secondary School from Mombasa, made it to the semi-finals in the global competition held in Silicon Valley. Their mobile application, Gold in Garbage, teaches users how to recycle garbage, make money from recycling and links users to bodies interested in recycling.

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