Intel, AkiraChix partner to enhance IT innovation for girls in Kenya’s major towns

From Left Agatha Gikunda Software Services Group Lead Intel EA Suraj Shah Corporate Affairs Manager Intel EA and Linda Kamau Vice-President of Akirachix
From Left Agatha Gikunda Software Services Group Lead Intel EA Suraj Shah Corporate Affairs Manager Intel EA and Linda Kamau Vice-President of Akirachix

To celebrate the United Nations’ second International Day of the Girl on October 11, Intel has announced its collaborations with Akirachix to launch a countrywide initiative that will see more Kenyan girls start to develop technology applications.  There will be 2-day free training sessions organized annually in Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru, Kisumu and Mombasa for girls interested in coding. The sessions will be limited to 25 girls per class and will be open to all Kenyan girls.

To apply for the course, participants will be required to apply through iHub. The first session was held on October 1 – 2, 2013 at the iHub. Dates and venues of the other sessions outside Nairobi will be communicated via iHub website and Intel Kenya’s twitter handle @IntelEastAfrica.

Speaking during a press briefing, Agatha Gikunda, Intel East Africa’s Software and Services Lead said, “Diversity is crucial to succeed in new technologies. We are convinced that technology and education have real power to fuel transformative change and hence the reason Intel is collaborating with other industry players such as Akirachix to see as many girls as possible make a mark in the technology world.”

This launch comes after last week’s global announcement by Intel Corporation on a new program dubbed She Will Connect that commits to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries. Intel will begin the initiative in Africa, where the gender gap is the greatest, by aiming to reach 5 million women and reduce the gender gap by 50 percent. To achieve this, Intel will work with a diverse set of partners including global and local NGOs and governments.

She Will Connect demonstrates Intel’s commitment to this action by not only providing digital literacy skills to girls and women, but also by pushing the concept of digital literacy forward through new, innovative and scalable models.

She Will Connect will test a new model that integrates digital literacy with gender and development programming targeting women and girls:

  • Online Gaming Platform – Intel is developing an online gaming platform to innovate the delivery of digital literacy content through an interactive, engaging approach for smartphones and tablets in a game-infused environment. With the gaming platform, learning can take place in a mediated environment, individually, across devices and in the context of a peer network.
  • Peer Network – Intel and World Pulse are working together to integrate World Pulse’s digital empowerment training into existing digital literacy programs and connect women to a safe and supportive peer network. Through the World Pulse platform, women can exchange ideas, find support and mentorship, and obtain relevant content tailored for women. This innovative approach will push the field of digital literacy so learning can take place not only as an individual in a shared computing environment but also through peers.

Findings from the “Women and the Web” report released by Intel in January 2013 have concrete data on the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world and the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women. The report issued a call to action for stakeholders to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries in three years.

“In a continent where women form a majority of the population and half of the workforce, it is an anomaly that the percentage of women working in technology is less than 15%. Technology is one of the key factors driving Africa’s projected economic rise. As such, we welcome Intel’s partnership as we believe there is enormous potential for maximizing the growth of technology through increasing the number and quality of women in technology within programs that collaborate with like-minded organizations.” said Linda Kamau, VP of Akirachix.

In addition to launching the joint initiative with Akirachix and She Will Connect, Intel is celebrating International Day of the Girl by building on its strong culture of employee volunteerism for Global Giveback Day. Championed by leaders from the Intel Network of Executive Women and the Women at Intel Network, employees will collaborate with organizations in support of education and empowerment of girls and women.

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