Founded four years ago by Judith Owigar, Linda Kamau, Marie Githinji, Angela Oduor, Gladys Kitony and Catherine Kiguru, AkiraChix, a girl geek group training girls in design and programming and mentorship to empower them to join technology last evening celebrated four years of existence and officially launched their own working space.
The AkiraChix space was acquired six months ago on the ground floor of Bishop Magua Centre, which also hosts iHub, Nailab and m:lab East Africa and has been used as a training center for girls in high schools and those from the neighboring areas to write code and design.
Speaking during the launch and four year celebration the girls said they wanted to change the way girls looked at technology. They wanted to women to know tech is for them too that’s why they launched to encourage more girls and kids(boys and girls) get drawn to technology at a young age.
“During the iHub launch, we realized that there was a big problem, we realized that there were few girls in the room, but that what was happening everywhere. We could talk to people and even do our research and realize that they were so few women in technology. Evenladies thought tech was a career for only men. So the six of us sat down one morning and started AkiraChix and we thought we would just be a forum, to collaborate and share our experiences and tell other girls that tech isn’t just a space for men,” said Judith Owigar AkiraChix’s president.
“Four years down the line, AkiraChix today has mentored and trained over 200 girls in Kenya in ICT and entrepreneurship through a one year program in a move to see them start their own businesses or find jobs and solve problems in their communities. The girls began their first training on a bus and in the second year had a partner give them a space for their training, there dream was to get their own space to train more girls in ICT.
Having and launching their own space is a milestone worth celebrating.
Recently the girls received a donation of 20 laptops from SIDA and Fujitsu to help them reach out to more girls in their High School Outreach Program which works with various girl’s schools in the city. AkiraChix aims to go to schools out of the city to reach to as many girls as possible. Apart from girls, AkiraChix also holds kids bootcamps to train them in various ICT related packages.
SIDA also funds AkiraChix programs and was the one that helped them carry out their third training program and secure their own space for their activities. The SIDA grant will also help them expand beyond Nairobi. AkiraChix has been working with Kenya’s ministry of education to have their ICT training program accredited and is working on replicating the model for the training program across the country, and eventually across the continent. The team also launched a paid version of their training program.