Women have been left out in technology for years. Asikana Network, a Zambia-based nonprofit, however seems equipped to change this trend.
Set up earlier this year, the Asikana Network focuses mainly on women empowerment using information technology. The organisation has started crowd-mapping women in technology across Africa to empower and equip them.
The network is now using the Ushahidi platform, to crowdmap the women organisations in tech hubs, women in ICT projects, women’s technology initiatives, women in technology organisations and women’s organisation with some tech activities.
Ashikana Network’s Tony Roberts told HumanIPO that the project went live 10 days ago and “though the platform still needs tweaking” reporting can still be done by sending an email, by sending a tweet or by using an Android or iPhone app.
Roberts added that after launching the tech hubs in Africa and reflecting on issues facing women in ICT, with the help of Ella Mbewe, co-founder of AsikanaNetwork they decided to initiate another research project to identify all of Africa’s Women in Tech organisations, initiative and projects.
At the moment, the initiative has over 15 organisations already on the crowdmap with Kenya’s AfChix Kenya and Uganda’s Solar Sisters already on board.
Afchix Africa was founded in November 2004 and like the Asikana Network, aims to build a critical mass of computing skills among African women through its mentorship programs and annual career workshops to encourage women and High School girls pursue careers in Computing.
Earlier this year, a survey founded that about 30 percent of 450 organisations interviewed in the US had no women in their IT organisations at all. With this in mind, the research is set to identify the women in technology and the problems they face.
The crowdmap is expected to arise interest in technology, equip them with ICT skills, and help them in their various fields. The organisation will also provide ICT skills and training development, mentor young ladies, do job placement for the young ladies who have qualifications in ICT.
“AsikanaNetwork was established in January 2012. Our belief is that we can better the mindset of ladies/women in ICT and deal with negative stereotypes attached to ladies/women in ICT-related fields,” Roberts said.
The network has identified three groups of young women as the target group: those in high school, in university and those already in the ICT profession.
Asikana Network organises online and physical meetups with women to train and women in Lusaka, Zambia.
Zambia’s BongoHive with the help of Roberts, founder and former CEO Computer Aid International, founded the organisation.