I seem to have a blurred image of my first meeting with the founder members of AkiraChix. I have scratched my head silly trying to figure out when it all started … but I believe that is not as important as the journey we have walked together in the last few years of my knowing them.
My name is Mary Amisi Ncube. I am a high school teacher (Kenya High school) having taught both Chemistry and Computer Studies for quite a while. I have also had the priviledge of carrying out this noble task in a girls school that gets its students from all parts of this country.
When the school and special mention to the parents through the PTA then decided way back in 1998 to ensure that every student passing through the school should be exposed to computers, I was extremely challenged that these group of people were visionary. I made a decision that I would be a part of this milestone and would contribute in whatever way I could not counting the cost. Computer literacy lessons were introduced for all students in the school in 1998 and later a group of the students selected to take Computer Studies as an optional subject. The pioneer class sat the KCSE exam in 2004.
Fast track to the 21st century and the question lingering in my mind was what contribution would I be able to make towards my students to make them go through a training that equips them with skills that are appropriate with the times they are in.
Here is where I vaguely remember the AkiraChix ladies visiting the school to address the assembly on computing skills. They were interested in starting a club and were able to share their vision with our students. I gladly volunteered to be the patron of the club. This was a vehicle that would drive my passion to the next level. What a meeting of minds!
The club kicked off very well with motivational talks, exposure to young ladies who are already in the field of Technology and culminated in training sessions in areas of design and programming. The first club members also got to visit iHub and see all that is going on there. The students were inspired and when the first African Women In Technology Conference was launched they participated in it. The seed planted during these various moments has caused so many other girls who do not necessarily belong to the club nor take Computer Studies as an elective subject to pursue courses in Tech in both the local and international universities or colleges around the world.
The AWTC conference offers a platform for ladies already working in Tech to showcase what they do. On the other hand it gives an opportunity to young ladies who are interested in Tech to get to see what is being done and interact with the professionals.
I have benefitted from this journey on a personal and professional level. I can say that when I teach what is in the text books I am able to make parallels with what is happening in the country and the world of technology owing to the club and conference exposure. My students as mentioned earlier have also benefitted as they have been exposed to more careers than the traditional ones; some have taken part in bootcamps and hence acquired skills that have propelled into careers within the field of computing and technology at large.
I look forward to another conference which I believe will live up to its theme: “Technology. Impact. Leadership”