TechInPink: Diversity Sparks Creativity

 

At face value, Yetunde Sanni and Gertrude Nyenyeshi have nothing in common. Sanni is from Nigeria, Nyeyenshi from Kenya. They haven’t even met in person. At a deeper level however, their love for technology unites them.
Both ladies founded, and now run TechInPink, an organisation that teaches women and girls
coding and software development regardless of their background. According to Sanni, who is also a full time stack developer at Andela: “We started with blogging which involves teaching other people
the craft of software development, we decided to do this because we found out we have very
few tech based blogs that are run by women and we took the challenge upon ourselves to
transform the false that women can’t write great code tutorials.”
Although the organisation is barely a year old, success stories abound from the ‘pink techies’
efforts. There are two students that readily come to mind when we’re asked about our
success stories,” said Nyenyeshi, a full stack Javascript developer.
“One is Salma, an Architecture student in Kenya, and the other is Ruth a paramedical
student in Nigeria who we mentored last year. They both had no prior experience but their
transformation has been tremendous. We’d also list the two events that we held in both
locations a success story as the ladies were introduced and taught about programming and
it makes us smile to see some of them actively pursuing opportunities to learn more.”
For the ladies, the wide gender gap accrued to technology in this part of the world is not to
the detriment of women alone, but technology itself. Her words: “Technology products are
used by a very diverse group of people therefore if the team producing it only takes
into account the view from one side, it becomes a loss.
Having a diverse team is key to achieving the most optimal solution for a problem. I think one
of the ways we can encourage more women into tech is by extending opportunities to more
women to work in the tech field and expose them to diverse teams. Through this we can
achieve a balanced and a more creative ecosystem.”
“Diversity sparks creativity. This is one of the key things we hold unto at TechInPink. We
strongly believe that diversities in team work have a ripple effect to any ground breaking
achievement. Across other continents, women in tech are under-represented and this is very
dangerous to the human kind.”
Despite some challenges TechInPink has faced, it’s founders are positive about the future of
African technology. So far, we believe the next silicon valley is coming from Africa. Even
though there’s more to be done in technology evolution in Africa, times are changing and we
see an Africa where tech is no longer a word but a reality in the industries of the future.
When asked whether their respective countries have an enabling environment for Tech start-
ups, their responses are the same: “Yes, of course.” Their reasons are similar: both countries have strong tech hubs. But Nigerian, Sanni is quick to add: “We need the government to support relevant issues like inadequate power supply, hike in fuel price, unavailability of data etc.
A lot of businesses have been crippled from the listed above problems. Also, the legislators
should be considerate when making regulations required for certain business needs. Sometimes
last year, I was going to get a drone for a research fun project but was discouraged after
I saw what it takes to own a drone in Nigeria.
Digital solutions Things like this are very discouraging to an average Nigerian who is trying to be creative and innovative.”
For Nyenyeshi, the case is quite different: “Kenya has companies and the government too,
offering digital solutions to the people. We have more and more tech meet-ups and events at
the tech hubs happening and having basic computer skills has been tagged as an important skill to have, we see the government trying to equip primary schools with laptops for each child as a learning tool. Of course, there are challenges still being encountered i.e devices are still too expensive, lack of electricity in some areas, resistance to change, tech hubs only limited to certain areas but we are getting there.”

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