In a move to increase the number of women in technology in Africa, Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech), with support from Google, has given WeTech Seed Fund grants of $2,000 to $20,000 17 projects in Africa to support their impressive work to involve more women and girls in computer science-related opportunities.
The projects include Kenya’s Akirachix, Zambia’s Asikana Network, Republic of Congo’s AZUR Development, Nigeria’s Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), SA’s Global Minimum Inc, Liberia’s iLab Liberia, Makarere University, Ghana’s Mobile Web Ghana, Kenya’s Nairobi Developer School, Cameroon’s Nathalie Tekam, Uganda’s Outbox, SA’s SAWomEng: Women in Engineering, Tunisia’s Semya Elaoud, Rwanda’s TechWomen Rwanda Alumni Network, University of Pretoria, SA’s Sci-Enza, Nigeria’s Women’s Technology Empowerment Center and Yetunde Folajimi.
In its first round the WeTech Seed Fund grants will help the projects run hackathons, summer camps, mentoring programs, trainings and virtual education platforms in their countries of operation.
WeTech helps more women and girls enter into, and succeed in, tech-focused education and careers. Launched last fall by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, the program is led by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and carried out with a consortium that includes Goldman Sachs, Google and Qualcomm Incorporated. WeTech will impact women and girls in Africa, India and the United States, developing the skills needed to fuel technological and economic growth.
The 17 were among the 90 applications from 20 countries throughout all regions of Africa that IIE received.
According to Trish Tierney, Director of IIE’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, “There is a growing movement of innovative, women-focused tech initiatives gathering momentum across Africa. By supporting and linking the leaders behind this progress, we hope to witness great potential for scale and impact, getting more women and girls into the global tech industry.”
Apart from the funds, the projects will receive regular capacity building support from the WeTech team as they revise implementation plans, track impact and become more sustainable. They will also meet virtually at least one time every month to share successes, lessons learned and professional connections. As part of their grant responsibilities, the project leads will write a blog post about their experiences, which will be featured on the WeTech site.
The competition for the second round of funds will be announced in August 2014 to help the beneficiaries scale existing successful initiatives in Computer Science. This new round of grantees will also be integrated into the existing WeTech network.
“We are delighted to be part of this great initiative that seeks to empower women in Africa with the support they need to continue on their path towards economic liberation through careers in technology,” says Omoju Miller, Technology Portfolio Manager at Google.