Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) in partnership with Google has given seed fund grants ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 to 17 African organizations in a move to support and encourage more women and girls to pursue computer-science related education and career. The beneficiaries of these seed fund grants include:
Akirachix – Kenya, Asikana Network – Zambia, AZUR Development – Republic of Congo, Nigeria’s Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Global Minimum Inc. – South Africa, iLab Liberia – Liberia, Makarere University, Mobile Web Ghana, Nairobi Developer School – Kenya, Nathalie Tekam – Cameroon, Outbox – Uganda, SAWomEng: Women in Engineering – South Africa, Semya Elaoud – Tunisia, TechWomen Rwanda Alumni Network – Rwanda, University of Pretoria, Sci-Enza – South Africa and Women’s Technology Empowerment Center and Yetunde Folajimi – Nigeria.The WeTech Seed Fund grants will on the first round help the projects in coordinating summer camps, hackathons, virtual education platforms, training and mentoring programs in their respective countries.
WeTech was launched last fall by Hillary Clinton back when she was still the Secretary of State during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in 2013. It is currently being led by Institute of International Education (IIE) and carried out with a consortium comprising of Google, Qualcomm Incorporated and Goldman Sachs. WeTech aims at reaching out and changing the lives of women and girls in Africa, United States and India. It endeavours to equip them with skills they would need to fuel technology and economic growth.
The chosen 17 African organization were part of 90 applicants from 20 countries across Africa. According to the Director of IIE’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, Trish Tierney, “There is a growing movement of innovative, women-focused tech initiatives gathering momentum across Africa. By supporting and linking the leaders behind this progress, we hope to witness great potential for scale and impact, getting more women and girls into the global tech industry.”
Apart from being given financial support, the project will also participate in regular capacity building exercise led by the WeTech team. This will be done in an effort to have the projects revise their implementation plans, track the impacts and help the plans be more sustainable. There will also be online meeting at least once every month; where they can share their successes, lessons learned and establish professional connections. The projects will be tasked with a grand responsibility at the end, which will be writing a blog post, where they will share their experiences. The blog will be featured on WeTech website.
The competition for the 2nd round of the funds will be launched in August 2014 and will be intended to help the beneficiaries in upgrading the existing successful projects in Computer Science. That new lot of beneficiaries will also be integrated into the already existing WeTech network.
Technology Portfolio Manager at Google, Omoju Miller says, “We are delighted to be part of this great initiative that seeks to empower women in Africa with the support they need to continue on their path towards economic liberation through careers in technology.”