Snippets of Kenya’s tech ecosystem and Women’s Participation in the Techvolution

Date: 4th January, 2016

Speaker: Dorcas Adhiambo, Managing Director of Girls in Tech Kenya

Presentation Deck

Today’s talk centred on the factors that allowed Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah to develop during 2007-2010.

Mobile Money

Access to banking services was limited to high density population areas and banking. But the interests were too high for a number of people to afford, leaving most people to depend on friends and family traveling in from remote areas to the city to carry requests for money and cash back and forth.

However, after the launch of M-PESA every mobile phone owner was able to send payment, cash requests and pay their bills via the platform. In order to receive cash, persons would have to go to an M-PESA agent. The agent would have to receive a text telling them that they have to give this person cash.

Tech Incubator

At the iHub innovation centre, there is free wifi as well as conference rooms. In addition, there is technical training provided, and guidance for learning how to build software. This has led to a growth of startups across the country.

Crowd Sourcing App

During the dispute that followed after the Kenyan Presidential elections, a series of violence broke out that led to the development of the app known as Ushahidi “testimony’witness”. Ushahidi allowed for help teams to figure out the areas that needed the most support.

Government support

With the support of the Kenyan Government, there will be a construction of the Konza Technology City aimed at increasing technology development within the Green City in the Sun.

Looking at the imbalance within Technology

1. AkiraChixAkiraChix runs a technical training program that targets young women from poor social and economic backgrounds in Nairobi. This training program is the first of its kind not only in Kenya, but also in Africa, as it is the only technical based program targeting women only.

2. The Village Code is a project that aims to basically ensure that people out there without bias of where you come from or what you really posses can really get their hands on a computer and not only learn basic computing skills but advance them to become very good and efficient coders at early stage

Thoughts after the talk from the attendees

A number of us were impressed with the mobile payment system, and expressed interest in implementing it in their countries. One person noted that often when we look at technology development we tend to focus on the G8 countries, however, we can and should also look at the way it’s being implemented in developing countries.

Another person was impressed but the fact that the Kenyan government was so supportive, as in their experience gaining support was a very difficult thing. It was amazing to look at the way that professional opportunities are being made available for women, as women face a lot of discrimination, and we all are glad to encourage more women to follow their dreams. Video

Editor: Veronique Bailey– Postgraduate Student at National Taipei University of Technology 

 

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