For a one-day event, AfChix 2018 was well attended and really packed full of exciting activities. Among the notable participants were undergraduates from the University of Technology, Dakar. The presence of these young women at this high-profile ICT event for women was a reassuring sign that the future of AfChix is secured. The importance of the event was also underscored by the fact this was the first time the Africa Internet Summit (AIS) was dedicating a day to African women in ICTs.
Khoudia Gueye SY, the chair of the AfChix TechWomen Summit, set the ball rolling by sharing her experience of working with young Senegalese women to ensure they received opportunities for computer awareness. Dorcas Muthoni, the founder of AfChix, affirmed that events such as this supports women’s ICT skill development to make sure they are not left behind, and looks forward to more of their involvement in technology spaces such as African Network Operators Group, AFRINIC (the Internet Numbers Registry for Africa) and other such spaces.
Dorcas Muthoni raised issues on the pivotal role played by female role models while Michuki Mwangi of the Internet Society (ISOC) gave a presentation on “Community Networks, What Future for African Women”. Michuki observed that with 47% of the world not yet connected and with only 35.2% connected in Africa, where more than 60% live in rural communities, gender disparity constitutes a major challenge to the continent’s development. Through the community network model, with its local ownership of infrastructure, affordability and relevant local content, women in Africa have a good chance to leapfrog into network management, content development, e-commerce, e-learning, etc. from their rural locations.
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Photo: Kazanka Comfort of Fantsuam Foundation representing APC at AfChix 2018. All images sourced from author.