We started a series to convey the tales of the many intelligent and talented women who work tirelessly to close the gender gap in technology. You can read it here. By doing so, we aim to celebrate them and encourage the next generation of female technologists. We have so far covered Nanjira Sambuli and Ruth Kaveke.
Today we shine a spotlight on a remarkable woman. Dorcas Owino leads the technology and social organization Lakehub based in Kenya’s lakeside city, Kisumu. LakeHub, supports a community of creatives, programmers and entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are girls aged 13 to 19. Under Dorcas’ leadership, several LakeHub students have competed globally at hackathons. Dorcas had the following to say about her work at Lakehub:
“LakeHub was the first techhub in Kisumu. The reception has been really good, because for the first-time access to entrepreneurship and technology opportunities were decentralized and people did not have to travel all the way to Nairobi to get these opportunities.
We run women-in-tech programs and an annual three-month initiative where we work with girls in high schools, teaching them how to use technology to solve problems around them. We have done this for three years now and one of the succesful innovations as a result of this is iCut, an app that connects girls affected by female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) with legal and medical assistance.
Although LakeHub has made major strides to help close the gender gap in technology, we still have challenges— one of them being the education system. Women might be interested in tech, but in high school they miss out on important subjects that are needed to take tech courses in university. This is why we have a high-school program, and we have also tried to solve this by running LakeHub Academy, a coding bootcamp.
Everything about LakeHub is interesting; it never feels like work. I love that I have a great degree of control and freedom within my job, which gives me a chance to keep innovating. Also, I work with young people, and love that I get a front-row seat to see their lives transformed.”
We love Dorcas. She has been active in the Africa tech and startup scene for about 9 years now. Due to her contribution to technology, she holds many awards under her belt.
The most notable ones are being a nominee and runners up in the Sakharov Prize which is awarded by the European Parliament due to her fight against FGM using technology, Mandela Washington Fellowship, and a Queen’s young leader fellow, which recognizes and awards young leaders in Africa and commonwealth countries. Dorcas was recognized as Forbes 30 under 30 in 2019 and the top 40 under 40 women in Kenya.
It is not only our responsibility to tell these stories, to document the impact, to drive the inclusion of women in Tech, but it is one of the greatest honors of our lives to highlight these stories and to talk about these women. If you are a woman in Tech and you would like us to shine a spotlight on your work, please email us on [email protected] and we will be in touch!