Guest blog by Wangechi Mwangi
Our high school outreach program first began at Precious Blood Riruta in the year 2011. We realized that there was a knowledge gap – high school girls simply did not know the opportunities that existed in the technology world, and we felt that as Akirachix we could something to fill this gap. 2 years down the line, we have established a strong bond with PB girls.
Using Linda Kamau’s words, “PB feels like home. I love the girls at PB because in addition to being smart, they are so focused and determined”. From 2011, Akirachix has had some significant impact with PB girls. We created and ran an IT club, helped birth and grow AZMA, an initiative of the PB girls, held a design bootcamp for the girls over their holidays, had girls from PB participate in Google Code Challenge (the first ever Africans to do that), ran a Girls in ICT day with girls from PB being the highest in attendance among others.
One of the biggest achievement however, is the eye-opening effect that we have had on a number of girls that as a result have chosen to pursue tech-related careers. Through them we are realizing our goal of building a strong force of women in technology.
We went to PB a couple of Fridays ago to meet with the IT club. We were pleased to see many new young faces of form 1s, 2s and 3s excited to learn and explore the world of tech! From the 2012 IT club, 3 students pursued Computer Studies at University of Nairobi while 6 students went to pursue BBIT and DBIT at Strathmore University. We plan to geek out with the girls during the December holidays in a 2 week bootcamp. This time, we will not be designing but instead coding!
We were very encouraged to see the girls very excited to hear that they would be creating apps. The most encouraging thing however was this one student that had this screen on her computer:
Even without any guidance, she already had Eclipise installed and was downloading the android sdk. Seems like ours will be a pretty smooth ride. The PB visits are held once every fortnight on Friday at 4pm.
If any one would like to join us and meet these incredible girls, feel free to drop us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a tweet (@AkiraChix) . Share what you do with them if you are in the tech industry, inspire them with a good story, teach them a new skill, or simply just meet them and have them inspire you!