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iHub By Jessica Colaço / August 15, 2011

AkiraChix Graduation

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On Saturday the 6th of August, 2011, the inaugural class of the AkiraChix Training Program graduated in a moving ceremony held at the iHub. The Guest of Honor was Patrick Obath, Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance. Also present was Catherine Nyambala, Founding Director of STEM Africa.

The seventeen young women and one young man looked confident in their gowns, and the smiles on their faces reflected the pride they felt at completing and excelling in the year-long program.

A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the students’ final projects. The students used their newly acquired programming, web design and entrepreneurship skills to create websites that offered innovative solutions to relevant local problems. For example, “Soap ya Mtaa” website created a platform allowing local soap and detergent makers to reach a wider market through the internet.

Mr. Obath was so impressed by the caliber of the presentations that he offered to follow up with the IT sector of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance to investigate which of the projects could be turned into real implementations.

Students Mary Irene and Daphine gave heartwarming votes of thanks. It was clear that they represented all the students in their gratitude for the program and the impact it has had on their lives. Judy Owigar, AkiraChix President, and Linda Kamau, Vice-President and Project Manager for the Training Program, also spoke. They expressed their gratitude for the support of generous people and organizations that believed in the AkiraChix mission of inspiring and developing women in Tech. They recognized Computer Aid, who provided the students’ laptops, SODNET who provided teaching space and Senaca Group who sponsored the graduation event. Dorothy Ooko of Nokia also provided the award for the best student.

The AkiraChix students face a brighter future thanks to the program. Several employers have come forward to request students for placements in their firms, and many students are already arranging job interviews and following up on new opportunities.

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at: www.jessicacolaco.wordpress.com


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