Kenya’s Dr. Shikoh Gitau wins Anita Borg Institute’s 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) ABIE award


Dr Shikoh Gitau
Dr Shikoh Gitau

A Kenyan, Dr Shikoh Gitau – an Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) proponent who has created several health and employment mobile applications for use by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in South Africa and Kenya – is among the 2013 winners of the Anita Borg Institute’s 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) ABIE award.

According to an article on Yahoo! News, the winners will be honored for leadership, social impact, and education at an event set for Minnesota, US, on October 5 this year.

The article describes Dr Gitau as “passionate about the user experience of everyday people and creating technology systems to help them achieve their aspirations in life,” adding that besides the ABIE Change Agent Award, Gitau is the first African to win the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship.

Dr Gitau, who works as part of Google’s User Experience Group in Africa, was also involved in the development Ummeli that helps people find jobs and secure interviews and already in use in South Africa. 

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI), a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of women in computer science and engineering, announced the winners of the 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration ABIE Awards, to be presented at the 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The ABIE Awards give the community of women technologists a chance to honor leaders in the categories of technology leadership, social impact, change agent, education, and emerging leader. Winners are nominated by their peers, and chosen by a panel of fellow technologists and past ABIE Award winners. This year, ABI received a record number of nominations for distinguished technologists in every category.

This year’s GHC theme: “Think Big. Drive Forward,” is designed to encourage women technologists to dream ambitiously and push the envelope. The annual four-day conference featuring over 200 speakers brings together women at various phases of education and career, including students; women starting their professional careers; mid-career technologists; women entrepreneurs; and those in the highest technical positions at multinational corporations.

“The ABIE Awards are an important component of the Anita Borg Institute’s year-round mission to promote the advancement and contributions of women technologists,” said Telle Whitney, ABI’s president and CEO. “We value the women making significant research contributions, and working on the ground. These contributions help build a movement, and year after year, we look forward to acknowledging their achievements at our Grace Hopper Celebration, which represents the largest gathering of technical women in the world.”

GHC

Below are the GHC 2013 Award Winners in their respective categories:

ABIE Technical Leadership Award Winner, underwritten by SAP: Dr. Margaret Martonosi, Hugh Trumbull Adams ’35 Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, is one of the foremost researchers in power-efficient computer architectures. Her work has greatly shaped computing’s response to the grand challenge of power dissipation. In recent years she has also developed mobile sensing systems and mobile networking technologies specifically suited to the developing world.

ABIE Social Impact Award Winner: Tülin Akin, Co-founder of Tabit / Tarimsal Pazarlama Ltd. (Agricultural Informatics and Communication Technologies), is building an information platform to enable Turkey’s three million farm families, especially women, to fully and actively participate in the economy and society.

ABIE Change Agent Awards Winners, underwritten by Google

  • Dr. Unoma Okorafor is founder and CEO of Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to promote STEM Education for African women, and to ensure that talent is engaged in technology innovation in Africa.
  • Dr. Shikoh Gitau, champion in Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), has created several health and employment mobile applications for use by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in South Africa and Kenya.
  • Violette Uwamutara, Country Director for Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Rwanda, is advancing the participation of Rwandan women in technology and introducing them to new opportunities and careers in technology, entrepreneurship, and socially responsible enterprise. Uwamutara created a unique DOT youth-led model that sends confident, young, local role models to train and coach their out-of-school, out-of-work peers and neighbors to become productive users of technology as they take charge of their personal development and livelihoods.

ABIE A. Richard Newton Educator Award Winner: Dr. Christine Alvarado, Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, spearheaded the implementation and institutionalized the practices that changed the culture within the Harvey Mudd College Computer Science Department and lead to dramatic increases in the participation of women studying and pursuing careers in the field of computing.

ABIE Denice Denton Emerging Leader Award Winner, underwritten by RMS: Dr. Alice Pawley, Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education and faculty member of the Women’s Studies Program at Purdue University, is helping engineering and computing develop as a more socially just profession in a global context, including making it more welcoming to diverse populations.