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About WIT

SAFARICOM WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY (WIT)

Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is an organization of passionate women from Safaricom technology driven divisions dedicated to inspiring women from different backgrounds to advance their careers from classroom to board room. These efforts are geared towards creating an opportunity to tap into the unused talent and innovative ideas sitting on the bench with our girls, whilst dynamic trends continue to emerge in the Technology space. The program is organized into 6 streams:

 

  1. KidzGoTech – It strategically engages children in science based experiments targets children from the ages of 5-13yrs to embrace technology and use it to solve everyday problems. These young children engage in science/technology based experiments that use interactive kits to simulate real world applications. As a bonus they get to carry these kits home. Through this engagement the children are introduced to the use easily and locally available tools that simulate real world objects and robots that move, light up and make sounds. The aim is to skew the attitude of girls towards science and technology and make them become creators of and not merely consumers of technology from an early age. To date there have been over 17 successful Sessions with over 700 kids attendance and 32 Experiments done. Over 100 children from disadvantaged backgrounds like SOS Children’s Home in Buruburu were sponsored. The December 2016 sessions are currently ongoing and exposing amazing talent.

     

    Kidz Go Tech session in which children engage in technology based experiments with interactive kits to simulate real world applications

     

  2. 47/47 Girls High School outreach – This initiative is a See-n-Believe program. It strategy is one of Imagine-and-Create so primary school girls in all 47 counties in the country can make career choices towards Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The program entails lessons on telco 101, understanding basic calls and equipment, visits to Safaricom data centers, career talks and mentoring sessions. The aim is to demystify technology and expose girls to the real tech-world so they consider technology career options. So far all 45 counties have been reached. Follow ups show more girls taking Physics in the national exams. Many testimonials show positive impact of these efforts on academic performance.

     

    Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore mentors a visiting high school organized by Women in technology (WIT) 47 47 initiative. Encouraging females to pursue Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) remains a core focus for WIT

     

     

  3. Technovation Challenge: This initiative focuses on development of mobile apps that help to solve local community problems. High school girls are mentored on basics of coding, user-interface design, conducting market research, writing business plans, and pitching for funding for the apps. In 2016 for the first time, 8 out of the 256 teams that participated qualified for semi-finals of the international challenge. Out of these, 1 team, Snipers from Precious Blood High School developed a transport app, M-Safiri that they defended at Silicon Valley, California. They emerged 2nd best. 60 Campus students who coached were also beneficiaries of the challenge.

    From Right: Anne Cheboi (Mentor), Daisy Ndungu (Team Sniper Coach), Priscillah Wambui, Victoria Mutwiri, Gladys Wairimu, Laura Ayushi Harriet Karanja,(Team Sniper students-2016) and Jematia Bett (Mentor)  

     

     

  4. Campus Outreach: This initiative targets to inspire and retain the girls studying Technology (Engineering and ICT) in campus through coaching and mentorship. The WIT champions visit campuses to encourage students to stay active, informed, and networked; ready for roles as professionals and leaders in the sector. The aim is to offer support for female engineering students academically, socially, professionally (CV writing, interview etiquette, online branding). At these sessions, the students learn about Value Added Services, Customer Billing System, MPESA rooms, Power, Transmission and Data Centres which they actually visit. 15 Universities all over Kenya have been covered to date. In 2016 WIT Campus Outreach united with Technology Strategy team for a conference at the University of Nairobi. This event was greatly supported by male engineers and was instrumental in horning innovation and aligning students to dynamic trends. Together with Technology Security a visit to Moi University in November 2016 unveiled numerous invention ideas, web design and online opportunities.

     

    WIT Campus Outreach team discussing interview etiquette during a visit to Kabarak University

     

     

  5. Technology Academy: This is an internship program with a special quota for ladies and people living with disabilities that aims to release highly trained engineers. The agenda is to equip them with the necessary skills to make them market ready. The interns actually sit and work with the engineers thereby learning a lot from them. It runs on a quarterly calendar and there have been 9 sessions each with 40 interns. Just before they graduate a career fair that matches their skills to potential hirers is organized. Partners in technology space such as Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson, Oracle grace these events that always has a positive outcome careerwise. Over 40 have converted to Safaricom staff and over 100 to other partners. The number is increasing steadily and current intake targets double numbers including the boy child.

     

    WIT Academy pose for a photo with WIT founder, Angela Wamola (front row, extreme left) on their graduation day after 3 months of intensive training to get a feel of the real working environment

     

  6. WIT Forum:

    Held monthly WIT networking forum aims to motivate professional women pursuing technology careers and grow them all the way to the boardroom. Guest Speakers (Women and Men) with a wealth of experience in leadership give career talks. It provides a platform for the working woman to Network, Build Relations and Engage positively with role models.
    Over 40 sessions down the lane, a lot of wisdom has been passed on financial management, technology and business, real estate, decision making and pursuing opportunities among many other topics. This forum has been graced by speakers from various sectors such as Cherie Blaire, Amb. Dr. Monica Juma , Zebib Kavuma and Tumi Chamayou.

     

    Success is great minds working together. From left: WIT head, Lilian Kiambati, Enterprise business unit director, Rita Okuthe, Chief Guest speaker Hon. Amb. Dr. Monica Juma and media personality Julie Gichuru at a past WIT networking forum session

     

Other highlights

 

  1. Reaching out to ladies in marginalized areas

     

    WIT has stepped out of its comfort zone to reach out and support ladies from marginalized regions. Upon interacting with and hearing the stories of early marriages and disrupted education in such areas, 1 female engineer from Mandera County was on boarded within Technology division with efforts at an advanced stage to onboard more.
    In 2016, The WIT chairperson, Lilian accompanied the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai and her team in her visit to Dadaab, Garissa County to know firsthand the hardships the ladies there experience and join her in campaigning for female education.

     

  2. Information Sharing and Knowledge: 

     

    WIT is well aware of the dynamic trends of the technology industry and has tapped into this to ensure it is keeping up with communication needs. In September 2016, it partnered with GoGaga in sponsoring the first ever social media independent week Nairobi. This one week conference themed ‘The Invisible Hand: Hidden Forces of Technology’ (How social media and technology is changing business and cultures globally) provided a central stage for keynotes and panels, multiple workshops, master classes, presentations and networking. This was timely and by coincidence ran at a time the social media was rife with vices such as cyber bulling targeting females, incest and molestation. 37 WIT ladies including interns worked tirelessly in knowledge sharing.
    Our WIT chairperson, Eng. Lilian Kiambati joined panelists discussing social media and technology on Press Pass aired on K24. The WIT Academy leader, Eng. Jaki Mebur was among the speakers in the conference.

     

  3.  Sponsorships

     

    2016 Mentorship Career Workshop for High School Girls, WIT joined hands with open world and sponsored the mentorship of over 500 girls through its champions. WIT also partnered with Andela and continually sends representatives to empower the ladies.

     

  4.  Reaching out to support materially to disadvantaged girls

     

    Among the challenges that affect ladies in school are emotional trials and lack of basic needs. WIT understands this only too well and continually support through donations of sanitary towels. During Safaricom at 15 celebrations in September 2015, they remembered the girls at Lorna Waddington Primary School in Kayole who benefitted and felt part of the company’s celebrations. Django Girls, a non-profit organization and a community that empowers women through workshops has also benefitted from study material donations in form of books and pens.

     

    WIT Lead, Lilian Kiambati (in green tshirt) poses with some students of Lorna Waddington High school, Kayole and some WIT champions in a visit organized to the school in 2015. WIT volunteers mainly comprise female engineers from technology division

     

  5. Women in Red Awards

     

    In 2015, 3 WIT champions, Jaki Mebur, Esther Karuga and Josephine Kamanthe were recognized for their dedication and outstanding efforts in supporting women in technology

     

CONTACTS:
E-mail:  WIT@safaricom.co.ke.
Website link is: http://www.womenintechnology.co.ke .
Women in Technology, Safaricom
P. O. Box 66827 Nairobi Kenya
Mobile: +254 (0) 722 540 661 ( Lillian Nyawira Kiambati)