Author Archives: vipiafrica

EMPOWERING YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS IN ZIMBABWE

By Paul Ndiho

Zimbabwe has no shortage of educated young people with college degrees, but the majority of them are unemployed. Could entrepreneurship and innovation be the ultimate answer to solving this serious problem?a54 zimbabwe entrepreneurs

The Zimbabwean economy has been in a slump for more than a decade, with cash shortages and high unemployment — and now demonstrators are clashing with government security services in Harare.  The protesters are angry over the massive rise in fuel prices ordered by the government.

Boost Fellowship, a non-profit youth-based organization, is trying to reverse the economic downturn by empowering young people with entrepreneurial skills, and more employment opportunities.

Busisiwe Marandure is the Executive Director at Boost Fellowship.

“It’s indented to empower the youth in Zimbabwe, through providing them opportunities for their future.”

The fellowship works in conjunction with ENACTUS, a global learning platform that operates in 36 countries and strives to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“These projects are entrepreneurial in nature, they must be environmentally sustainable, economically viable and must cause social change.”

Many young people are turning to entrepreneurship and innovation to make a living during the economic slowdown.

“Currently there is an issue with unemployment for young people graduating and coming out of university than the jobs that are available on the market. So young people now have to be innovative and create their jobs.”

Created in 2000, the ENACTUS fellowship has trained over 2,000 young people between the ages of 20-25 in work readiness skills — and over 300 participants have secured internship opportunities which have resulted in full-time employment.

Bryan Mmirimi is an apprentice at Boost Fellowship.

“From Boost you learn to be confident, to manage projects and how to get yourself into projects, how to network, how to meet the big people. So you do learn a lot of things.”

Alvin Tapera is a university student who hopes to start a business one day, instead of joining the ranks of the unemployed.

“As young students, we’re coming from Universities; we need to run the big companies, we need to drive our economies. Basically, in Africa we’re lagging behind the Western and Eastern countries. So as the youth we want to push the economies of Africa further and to bring our economies in Africa to be competitive economies in the world.”

The program is working with universities in Zimbabwe, and they have created five power teams that go into communities to implement waste management models.

“We have five power teams that are running entrepreneurship initiatives in Zimbabwe. For instance, we have one that is into making crafts from cans so they’re earning from what we see as waste, and they’ve also developed a mobile app that is into a waste collection. Once you have waste in a neighborhood, you can call them, and they’ll come and collect at no cost.”

Business analysts say given the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe, the Boost fellowship is making a significant impact on the country’s youth.

When President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over from Robert Mugabe, he pledged to revive the failing economy, end the country’s international isolation and restore badly needed confidence in Zimbabwe. But critics say that he has failed to turn the economy around, triggered the angry protests.

AFRICAN WOMEN ASPIRING FOR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

By Paul Ndiho

African women are facing enormous challenges to reach their political goals. Their stories of resilience and their ability to succeed, despite repeated hardships are remarkable. diane-shima-rwigara1538735414314_aspr_1.489_w938_h630_e

Women are slowly breaking into the historically male-dominated political domain of becoming an African president.   For decades, women have been calling for equality. And today, they are shaking the pillars of government patriarchy.  Many women are now telling their stories and sparking essential and necessary dialog as they strive to reach the political mountaintop of their countries.

“For generations, women have been fighting for their right. We need to continue until we have won our victories.”

In October 2018, the Ethiopian parliament approved Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president. While the president’s post is a ceremonial one, her appointment marks another shift in Ethiopia’s political system – under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, became the first democratically-elected female president in Africa, when she won the West African nation’s presidential poll in 2005. She rose to power vowing to empower Liberian women.  Her achievements as president, made her an excellent role model for women across the continent.

“I have an opportunity to open the doors for more African women to hold high-level political positions, challenging because I represent the aspirations and expectations of Liberian African women, maybe women all over the world and therefore the pressure is on me to make sure that I succeed.”

As a trailblazer for women, Sirleaf has inspired more women to join politics and change the mindset that only men can aspire to become their nation’s head of state.

The rise of former Malawian President Joyce Banda did not come easy.  Her ability to reach her nation’s highest office, despite repeated hardships is remarkable. She rose through ranks to become Malawi’s first female president and she says any African girl can now grow up to be a leader.

“The first recommendation I make is to enhance political will to empower girls and appoint qualified women to leadership positions.”

Another woman who reached the pinnacle of her country’s political ladder is former Central African Republic President Catherine Samba-Panza, who served as interim president of the C-A-R from 2014 to 2016. She was the first woman to become head of state in that country.

Another female politician on the rise is Gambian Vice-President Fatoumata Tambajang, appointed in 2017, she is a strong advocate for women and a staunch human rights defender.

Political observers say despite these success stories, discrimination remains, but the pool of qualified women is growing as more women vie for political office.

Former long-time Zimbabwean vice president Joice Mujuru was considered a potential successor to Robert Mugabe until he fired her in 2014, accusing her of leading a plot to oust him.

Young, energetic and ambitious African women are now entering the political arena on a regular basis. Diane Rwigara rose to fame after she announced that she was challenging Rwanda’s Paul Kagame in the country’s July 2017 presidential election.  However, Rwigara was not allowed to run — and later thrown into jail for allegedly “inciting insurrection” among other charges.

Rwanda’s high court later acquitted her and all charges dropped. But Rwigara continues to be a beckon of hope for many young women across the region.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s leading female presidential candidate recently withdrew from the crowded field of candidates running in the February 16th presidential election, citing differences in values and visions within her political party, the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria.

The former government minister and World Bank vice president, led the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign that raised awareness of the 270 girls who were kidnapped from their school in the northwest town of Chibok in 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorist group. She is also a co-founder of the anti-corruption group Transparency International.

Women across Africa are putting the government establishment on notice, that they are now a political force to be reckoned with.

 

GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP TOP PRIORITIES FOR AFRICA IN 2019

 


BAMBOO BICYCLES SALES ON THE RISE IN AFRICA

By Paul Ndiho

Bamboo Bicycle start-ups in Africa are offering cycling enthusiasts a cheaper alternative to ordinary bikes, with a brand made from bamboo. The new bicycles are generating a lot of interest on the international market. a54 pkg bamboo bikes 3 18_26588628

At a workshop in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Noordin Kasoma inspects handmade bicycles produced by his company.  The entrepreneur has developed a process to recycle damaged steel bikes, replacing the metal frames with bamboo — before putting them on the market.

Noordin learned to make bikes after training with an American bike frame designer and manufacturer and watching tutorials on the internet. His goal is to build bicycles that are cheaper and tougher than conventional than the brands available locally.

“When it comes to the Bamboo bicycle in riding mainly on the off-road, it’s comfortable. One, bamboo is flexible; due to that flexibility it gives that kind of shock absorbing property when you’re riding especially off-road. The bamboo itself tries to absorb the shocks that you are passing through other than steel or aluminum.

It takes Noordin about seven days to assemble a bicycle. The bamboo must be dried for several months first, and the bikes cost between 350 to 450 dollars each, depending on the size and design.

Noordin says his business employs about 20 workers. He’s teaching several young apprentices the unique production specifications of his bicycles.  Noordin is planning to expand his business locally as well as internationally.

“We get geometrical diagrams of different types of bikes and different sizes. We normally make mountain bikes, city bikes, travel bikes and then we have road bikes, the racing bikes. So every type of bicycle has different geometry and different sizes.”

In Ghana, another entrepreneur peddling bamboo bikes is making his mark on the international market.  Boomers International, a grassroots community development organization, is specializing in producing bamboo-framed bicycles for export around the world.  Kwabena Danso, is the CEO of Boomers International.

“We currently sell a lot on the international markets, we are marketed in Germany, through a company called my Boo, we also market in Holland through a company called forester Bikes, and Forester Bikes started because of us. They set up the company to distribute our product…and we also have another company in Australia called Ethical Wheels.”

Located in the Ashanti region of Kumasi, Ghana, the Yonso Project, dares to be bold, their Bamboo bikes have a striking design that commands attention.

As Boomers International seizes the opportunity to make use of bamboo, an abundant, natural resource. The company is also investing in the sustainability and the development of the local communities.

“We are trying to promote education, support rural community development through education, empower these children in the rural communities by the sales of our bikes.”

Bicycle analysts say Africa’s fast-growing population and rapid urban development has meant more cars on the roads — but having locally manufactured and affordable bikes could ease the crush of people using public transportation.

POLITICAL TRANSITION IN AFRICA

By Paul Ndiho

There were multiple peaceful power transitions across Africa in 2018, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali. There are unprecedented political reforms ongoing in Ethiopia following a head-of-state change. South Africa and Zimbabwe also changed power peacefully.  But 2019 is starting off differently, with an attempted coup in Gabon. Voters in more than 10 African nations are headed to the polls in 2019.

In last televised address Kabila calls on the nation to support Tshisekedi

The government in Gabon is firmly in control of the country following a failed coup attempt on January 7th. A small group of military officers had seized a state radio station to broadcast their displeasure with President Ali Bongo, who is allegedly recovering from a reported stroke in Morocco. A government spokesman says the rebel officers responsible for the coup attempt have been arrested.

The oil-producing African country has been ruled by the Bongo family for nearly half a century, but the president’s re-election in 2016 was marred by deadly protests amid claims of fraud.

In neighboring, Democratic Republic of Congo, people are anxiously awaiting the final official results of the December 30th presidential election. The nation’s electoral commission has delayed the publication of provisional results on Sunday until it had consolidated all the votes it is receiving from the polling stations. The commission says it has received only 50 percent of vote tally sheets — and it was not yet clear when the results would be ready. Residents in the capital city of Kinshasa are not happy.

The delay is the latest setback in a disorganized poll to elect a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country of 80 million people since his father, Laurent, was assassinated in 2001.

President Kabila announced in August 2018, that he would abide by the constitution and step aside, opening the door to the Central African nation’s first democratic transfer of power.

In Sudan, demonstrations calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down continued for the third week. The anti-government protests first erupted in mid-December over inflation, and soaring food and fuel prices.

The human rights group, Amnesty International, says 37 people have been killed in the protests.

Meanwhile, the international foundation for electoral systems projects that more than 10 African nations will hold general elections in 2019. Tens of millions of voters are hoping to use the ballot to deepen the quality of democratic governance.

Nigeria has Africa’s biggest economy, and voters there head to the polls for general elections on February 16th. Political observers are predicting a tight race between incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and his chief challenger, former vice-president Atiku Abubakar.  Buhari, 75 has been in office since 2015, and has fought an uphill battle to corral rampant corruption during his tenure.

The stakes are high in South Africa as voters gear up for general elections in May. This will be the sixth election held since the end of the apartheid system. The African National Congress party, which has ruled since 1994, is facing an uphill battle to retain its dominance — and is proposing constitutional changes to address land issues.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa says the proposed land reform is a lawful process that seeks to correct the legacy of decades of white minority rule that stripped blacks of their land.

A national rebranding is underway in Ethiopia as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has embarked on a series of reforms since taking office in April 2018. He’s tapped women to head top leadership positions while cracking down on corruption. Perhaps, most shockingly Prime Minister Abiy has made peace with once sworn enemy, Eritrea — ending decades of war and mistrust.

Political analysts say while these trends are encouraging, most of Africa’s young generation is yearning for change, especially in countries where some of the world’s longest-serving leaders continue to hold power.

SENSITIZING UGANDANS ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

By Paul Ndiho

Uganda’s entertainment industry is growing rapidly in popularity. But sometimes, there is limited awareness among artists, filmmakers, and producers on the importance of protecting their work and value of the intellectual property.

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The entertainment industry plays a role in giving a livelihood to many Ugandans, even in the face of challenges. Unfortunately, most entertainers say they are struggling to commercialize and earn money from their works.

A new start-up, a Kampala-based organization called “Intellectual Property”, wants to change that narrative. They’re going across the country to teach people in the entertainment industry how to protect and profit from their intellectual creations.

“We’ve been trying to sensitize the filmmakers and the musician into grasping the main aspect of the copyright law. Wherein they should know their rights and how they should commercialize and earn forever from their types of music and works they’ve created in film and other creations in the industry.”

Mbabazi says that his organization has hit the ground running and so far they’re getting a lot of attention in the entertainment industry.

“Ugandans have a lot of potentials. We’ve had songs which have gone up the African level they’ve hit charts, we’ve had songs that have had collaboration with international stars, and we believe that sort of information and works should be protected and given all it’s due.”

Intellectual property experts say the most significant obstruction to I-P growth for entertainers in Uganda seems to be a lack of knowledge on how to protect their work.

“Musician for example, only make money through shows. And that’s the only way they know how they think their shows will attract fans and through distributing Music freely. Once they do that, they’re beginning to close the gaps of copyright protection because they’re doing the infringement by themselves and that’s where the challenge is.”

Despite challenges, Mbabazi says they’ve had some success. For example, his organization represented Bobi Wine; a Ugandan pop star turned-lawmaker, settle out of court after Uganda’s electoral commission used one of his songs during the campaigns in 2016 without his authorization.

“Bobi Wine is a client of ours. He wrote a song saying that elections should not be a cause for division and the electoral commission used the song during the campaigns in 2016 without his authorization. Through Court, we litigated part of the matter and settled out of court, and he got some compensation.”

Still, industry analysts say Ugandans are yet to harness the true potential of their intellectual property and only a handful know about copyright, trademark and patent infringement. But the government is making significant advances in strengthening the administration and management of intellectual property rights — including parliament enacting significant IP legislation.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGNS IN DRC

 

By Paul Ndiho

 

Tensions are high ahead of general elections scheduled to be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo on December 23rd, 2018 to determine a successor to incumbent President Joseph Kabila who has been in power since January 2001. 36966218_303

President Joseph Kabila gathered his ministers and party officials last week at his farm in Kingakati, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at the start of the presidential campaign. 

President Kabila announced in August that he’d abide by the constitution and step aside opening the door to the Central African nation’s first democratic transfer of power.

His announcement calmed tensions that had seen dozens of anti-Kabila demonstrators killed by security forces since he refused to step down when his constitutional mandate expired in December 2016.

President Joseph Kabila is backing Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as the candidate of the Common Front for Congo (FCC), a coalition of ruling parties. Unveiling his platform ahead of a landmark election in the next month, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary set out a $86 billion five-year development plan.

“I am convinced that the work of rebuilding the Congolese State, initiated by the President of the Republic, His Excellency Joseph Kabila Kabange, and which marks the way forward for us for an emerging Congo, will indeed remain the source of inspiration for all my political commitment.”

Analysts say this election is critical for the future of DR Congo, a mineral-rich country that has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

In a bid to present a combined front against President Joseph Kabila’s preferred successor for elections next month, seven opposition leaders earlier this month picked a joint presidential candidate – businessman and lawmaker Martin Fayulu.

He drove through the streets of Kinshasa where thousands of supporters marched to welcome him back and show their support for the coalition.

“The state of mind is that we must at all costs wrestle democratic alternative, that is to say, to achieve this, we need elections. But what type of elections. Our objective is to achieve credible elections, that is elections with paper ballots without voting machines, with a clear and clean electoral list so that the Congolese tomorrow, when they have voted, that the results be per their vote.”

Police used tear gas briefly to disperse crowds that had overtaken the main road from the airport.

“We came to welcome our president so why did the police fire tear gas. We don’t want chaos. Our candidate has come home, and we want to be with him, they should leave us alone.”

“Tear gas does not scare us. We are going to show the traitors that Martin Fayulu is the real opposition candidate. We will show this to the world, and there will be a massive vote for him. The Congolese will vote for Fayulu as the common candidate.”

For a brief moment, it looked as if Congo’s splintered opposition was united. But those hopes were short-lived as the most prominent opposition party leader, Felix Tshisekedi, who had initially agreed to Fayulu as the joint candidate, later withdrew his support along with UNC party leader Vital Kamerhe.  The UDPS is the oldest and biggest opposition party in the DRC.

It was co-founded in 1982 by Tshisekedi’s famous father, Felix Tshisekedi, who died in February 2017.

In March this year, Tshisekedi was elected party leader and the UDPS’s election candidate by 90 percent of votes cast. According to DRC’s constitution, the President is elected in by plurality vote in one round.

According to the DRC Constitution, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is elected by plurality vote in one round.

POLITICAL REFORMS IN ETHIOPIA

By Paul Ndiho

Big changes are happening in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has embarked on a series of reforms since taking office in April. He’s tapped women to head top leadership positions, he is signing peace deals and cracking down on corruption. But what does all this mean for Ethiopia? ETHIOPIA REFORMS

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is generating worldwide headlines for pushing through reforms in stark contrast to his predecessors.

“Ensuring peace in Ethiopia is the government’s main duty. One way of doing so is by addressing the potential conflict zones and ensuring lasting peace. The current conflicts in Ethiopia must be resolved, but we are not worried they will jeopardize the ongoing reforms. The reforms were started by the people and are led by the people so they will not stop.”

Ahmed is from the majority Oromo ethnic group and was chosen by the ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, as its new chief after three years of street protests and strikes increased pressure on the party to reform and to achieve gender parity in government.

 “He’s restoring the rule of law in the country so that the Ethiopian people will have confidence in the system, in the judicial system, in the security system, and the government as the whole and part of doing that is holding these people accountable who have been charged with many crimes.”

In a historic move, the prime minister swore in Sahle-Work Zewde as the country’s first female president. In Ethiopia, political power is wielded by the prime minister, with the president’s role restricted to attending ceremonies and functions.

Nonetheless, Sahle-Work’s position carries significant symbolic weight and social influence, especially for young women.

“I Sahle-Work Zewde, today when I start my work as Ethiopian Federal Democratic President, I vow to fulfill my duties faithfully.”

Lawyer and women’s rights activist Blen Sahilu says Abiy Ahmed is setting a foundation that is creating free and fair environment for everyone to participate in politics freely.

“Women’s political participation, to me as well, is beyond cabinet positions. It’s participation at all levels and the participation of women who’ve never been in politics before. Women as voters, women as candidates, women as members of civil society and opinion makers, women in media. All of this works towards meaningful women’s political participation.

In another historic move, the Ethiopian parliament swore in Meaza Ashenafi as the country’s first female Supreme Court president. The appointment came two weeks after Abiy Ahmed named ten female ministers to his cabinet.

Earlier this month, the government launched a crackdown on senior security officials suspected of human rights abuses and corruption.

Ethiopia signed a peace deal with Eritrea in July that ended two decades of hostility, leading to friendlier relations between Addis Ababa and Djibouti — and boosting stability in the Horn of Africa.

Since the signing of the peace agreement, commercial flights between the two nations have resumed, telephone communications has been restored, and perhaps, more importantly, embassies reopened in the respective capitals.

And the UN Security Council this week unanimously adopted a British-drafted resolution lifting the arms embargo, all travel bans, asset freezes and targeted sanctions against Eritrea due to its warming relations with Ethiopia.

 

AFRICA’S STRONG LEADERS VS STRONG INSTITUTIONS

By Paul Ndiho

In the 1990’s, many African countries embraced presidential term limits and building institutions as a transition to democracy. But in recent years, term limits and institutions are under attack from incumbent presidents seeking to prolong their tenure. Africa's Strong Leaders

In his farewell speech, In July 2015, former U.S. President Barack Obama, while speaking to a large audience at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa hailed Africa’s extraordinary progress, noting that such growth can only be sustained through continued development and democracy for all.

“When I first came to Sub-Saharan Africa as president, I said that Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions.”

Obama’s words did not come as a surprise. Why? Because Africa is at a new crossroads in its institution building process. Constitutional engineering to remove or circumvent presidential term limits and undermining institutions by some leaders is alarming.

For example, in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, incumbent presidents have exploited ambiguities in the law to extend their terms as head of state — while simultaneously undermining their nation’s constitution.

Equatorial Guinea’s President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, has held power for 39 years, since August 1979.  At 76 years-old, he is still going strong, winning a fifth seven-year term in 2016.

Earlier this month Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, was sworn in after winning 71 percent of the vote in the October election, extending his 36-year-rule.   At 85 years old, Biya is the oldest leader in sub-Saharan Africa, and the victory cements his place as one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers. In 2008, the Cameroonian Parliament voted to change the constitution, to remove term-limits, so President Biya would be eligible to extend his time in office.

In December 2017, Uganda’s Parliament voted to lift the age limit for the presidency, setting the stage for the nation’s long-time leader Yoweri Museveni to rule indefinitely. Museveni had pushed to change the constitution in 2005, to abolish the term limits.

Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, won his last election in 2017, with nearly 100 percent of the vote, securing a third term in office. Kagame’s re-election came after a constitutional amendment which ended a two-term limit allowing him to possibly remain in power until 2034.

Across the border in Burundi, voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, extending the presidential term from five to seven years, potentially allowing President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek two more terms, beginning in 2020.

Political analysts argue that perhaps Barack Obama was right when he said that Democracy in Africa is threatened when presidents do not stand aside at the end of their constitutional term limits.

“I have to be honest with you—I don’t understand this. I am in my second term. Under our constitution, I cannot run again. There’s still so much I want to get done to keep America moving forward. But the law is the law, and no one is above it, not even presidents.”

On a positive note, not all of Africa is dealing with the strongmen syndrome. Other countries are rebranding and building stronger institutions. Leaders are elected through an open and transparent process.

New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahamed is proposing and pushing through reforms. In a historic move, the prime minister swore in the country’s first female President, Supreme Court Judge and named ten female ministers to his cabinet, which is now split equally between men and women.

Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio was sworn in as president of Sierra Leone in April, replacing incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma who abided by the country’s constitution and stepped down as head-of-state.

In January 2018, George Weah, a former international football star was sworn in as President of Liberia following incumbent president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who stepped down at the end of her second constitutionally allowable term.

And in 2016, Senegalese citizens voted in a referendum to reduce the presidential term limit from a seven year term to a five-year term, in stark contrast to many of Africa’s leaders who have successfully amended their nation’s constitutions.

WOMEN’S CODING CLUB IN MOMBASA

By Paul Ndiho

Computer science jobs in Kenya are some of the fastest-growing and highest- paying — but a majority of people do not have access to a computer. Female coders in Mombasa, fascinated with the intricacies of computer coding, want to inspire other young women to consider careers in the field. DfUtBoKWsAA8Uos

Every day young women gather in a room at a Swahili Pot hub in Mombasa.  Their eyes are fixated on their laptop screens. They are learning to code, and develop mobile applications. Ruth Kaveke, Co-founded Pwani Teknowgalz, a nonprofit community-based organization that aims to inspire more girls to venture into technology.

“We started as a small group, but then we realized that different girls at the different universities we’re also facing the same challenges and needed mentorship and as time on went we decided to start this organization where we’ll have more girls from University, high school joining in.”

Ruth says she fell in love with coding after taking computer science classes while she was at the university and today she offers free classes.

“We’re doing website development and other students are working on computer essentials. We released that we can’t go directly to web development if someone doesn’t have computer essentials.”

With a good idea, an entrepreneurial spirit and an interest in all things tech, young women from all over Mombasa are finding that learning new skills is extremely valuable.

Aisha Abubakar, Co-founder Pwani Teknowgalz, says the female-led initiative empowers young women.

” Pwani Teknowgalz empowers young girls in Mombasa both at the University and High school to venture into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We realized that they’re so many opportunities that are available in this filed and women are not taking advantage of especially in Mombasa.”

Abubakar says training girls and giving them the right skills, could help solve some of the community problems.

“They’re so many problems that we face in Mombasa  Starting from garbage, we have so many insecurity problems, water shortage and all of those programs can be solved either using technology,  engineering or mathematics.”

Aminah Muhamad took coding classes and since then she has created a business out of it.

“I’ve become a woman without limits. I’m able to talk to people, I can teach someone, I know about web development, and sometimes you need a booster. And I got that from Pwani Teknowgalz.” “I earn money through that, I develop websites for companies, and I earn money doing that, for example teaching kids how to use a computer”:

Youth unemployment is a massive problem in Kenya; official figures show up to one in two young people are out of work.

Aminah says having computer skills is a plus and could certainly open up opportunities for many others.

“The world of today, everything is about technology. You go to work, its technology, you walk its technology. So, that’s what motivated me to get into it.”

For young ladies whose dream is to think big and empower more young women, Pwani Teknowgalz, has its sights set on Kenya’s rapidly developing technology sector and have the potential to expand beyond Mombasa.

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