This year at WITU, our focus has been to bring Technology closer to young women and reduce the technological gender gap in Uganda and collaborate with sister orgs in Africa to reduce the divide on the continent.
We focused on girls that have dropped out of school and live in underserved communities on one side. On the other to work with ever growing number of girls that are graduating with STEM degrees but not ending up in STEM professions or are still unemployed and not sure of where to start.
Opening up a women Tech and Business hub that is entirely focused on working with young women and creating women entrepreneurs in the tech industry and women businesses that are technology savvy in Uganda. We wanted a space that young women felt belonged to them and they could open up without fear of redicule at anything they shared. A sanctuary that brought out hope to the hopeless and brought out talent in young women.
Our training was in Technology( from Basic to Computer Science, Networking, Digital Safety), Entrepreneurship, Business Management and Life skills. We felt that these three were a whole package.
Understanding the problem with few women in Technology on the continent is paramount to us solving this gap. Working with the young women themselves, employers, tech business owners and the community leaders has helped us understand where the real problem is and how we can solve it.
I do not think Training in STEM alone is going to solve the problem, We realized Young women need much more, They need career support and Life skills. With in this life skills, you have to deal with Esteem issues, sexual and reproductive health issues and confidence build up. Ultimately these contribute to the advancement in Her tech/Business career, her life as a woman and what she passes on to the next generation.
We worked with a number of partners for the different programs in our portfolio to achieve the results we did. Intel, Hive Colab, ITU, Microsoft and Forward Foundation
Many young women have found Jobs in the Technology Sector in Uganda through our referrals and preparing them with technical employability skills
Over 300 Young women have started or scaled or revamped their businesses with the business knowledge we offered and are using technology in these businesses for better results. As a result they have been empowered to leave abusive relationships, smarter with their bodies and knowledgeable in Sexual and reproductive health. We know what this knowledge is not only going to improve their standards of living but also reduce teenage pregnancies, abortions and deaths due to early pregnancy. They are confident of themselves regardless of their backgrounds. The savings clubs are helping these young women manage their finances and prepare for the future.
The Hub is more than a work place, its a safe haven of sisterhood where these women and girls open up, share life challenges and are inspired by others success after being in the same situation. WITU HUB has been and will continue to bring hope, confidence, help them find employment, start their own businesses and advise them and give them Hope.
We Believe for an even bigger impact in 2015. We are introducing new programs and improving our existing programs from lessons learned in 2014.