We took a keen interest to shine a spotlight on African Women in Tech. These are women who have utilized a wide spectrum of their technological abilities and taken the initiative to drive innovation across the nation by bringing digital skills to their communities and driving disruption within their organizations.
On today’s spotlight we feature Ruth Kaveke.
Ruth Kaveke is the founder of Pwani Teknowgalz. Ruth grew up in Isibanya, a rural village bordering Tanzania, and had limited access to computers. In high school, computer classes led her to develop an interest in technology. A few years later, she was one of six girls in her computer science program at university, and encountered hurdles in this male-dominated field. Ruth knew she had to carve out more space for people like her in the tech sector, and founded Pwani Teknowgalz in 2015 to provide skills training for adolescent girls in Kenya’s coastal region.
“As a child, the only place I had access to a computer was at a local cyber cafe. In high school, I chose computer classes and my peers wondered how long I would last because many other girls dropped out. But it was my favorite subject. I ended up studying computer science at university. I was shocked to find that I was one of six girls in my program. One of the other girls, Aisha Abubakar, became my co-founder at Pwani Teknowgalz.
I had several internships and the first time I shared my work — a website — with my supervisor, she was shocked, asking whether I did it myself. Even the men I worked alongside thought someone else did it for me. Eventually, my supervisor became excited about my work and I was given more responsibility.
After the internship, I went back to university and reflected on my experience. I could code, but was still viewed skeptically by others. I thought it would be better if younger girls were exposed to ICT and digital skills earlier in life. I shared my idea with the other girls in my program and they were excited. We shared it on social media and the response was positive, so we started training girls in two high schools in Mombasa.
We started to notice some gaps in tech education. For example, although we learned web development in class, we were not learning enough for the job market. Pwani Teknowgalz is trying to fill this gap. Our students, who are high school graduates, learn computer essentials, web development, digital marketing and python.
Since our launch in 2015, we’ve trained over 2,500 girls. Some parents have even brought their boys for training. Many of our students struggle financially, so my hope is that they can use the skills they’ve gained from Pwani Teknowgalz to sustain themselves, support their families, and also give back.”
Ruth is particularly passionate about bridging the gender gap of women in STEM careers by providing a holistic environment for women and girls through Practical STEM training, mentorship, and workshops. She says her firm endeavors to empower them to use their creativity to develop innovative solutions to community problems in alignment with the 5th SDG to be the next generation of innovators in Kenya and Africa by enhancing the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology to promote women empowerment. This makes her a woman worth celebrating and emulating. She continues to pull up a generation of women into STEM and for that we are so proud of her efforts and shall make best effort, here at TechMoran to continue shining a spotlight on her work.
It is our responsibility to tell these stories, to document the impact, to drive the inclusion of women in Tech. If you are a woman in Tech and you would like us to shine a spotlight on your work, please email us on email@example.com and we will be in touch!