by Ruth Aine - 01 June 2016
It is 2016 and we are still having rather weird and 'awkward' conversations about inclusion of women and girls into 'the big picture'. And I find it absurd and shameful. Because, truth is, we are not there - not as a continent, not as a world. A woman making it big in whatever field still makes headline news. While the stage in most cases has been set, the playing field is not yet leveled. However, there are efforts to change that. STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] education is one of them.
Lynn Kirabo is one of the few ladies in Uganda that has lived and breathed technology all her life. Her dream as a child was to become a 'computer wizard'. Today, she is doing that and more - using technology to change her community.
I asked her a few questions:
What solution are you and the company you are working for delivering to the community?
I work as a software engineer at Fenix International - a technology company that is using disruptive innovation to improve the quality of life of their customers. We are currently doing this by providing affordable financial solutions to our customers. Currently we are doing this in the form of a range of pay-as-you go solar products.
How important are women and girls in this solution?
We offer a clean affordable energy alternative to Kerosene and candle-type lighting that often is not only a health hazard but also can lead to hazardous fires! This helps women keep their children out of hospital. This lighting is also very helpful for our school-going girls as they have clean lighting that they can use to read for school. Thirdly, keeping good credit in turn can qualify you for upgraded products that can be used to support any business women might be involved in, or even a certificate of loan completion that they can use as proof of good faith.
As we are also committed to improving the quality of life, we listen to our customers’ feedback, and listening to their input help us providing a better product and service.
Challenges facing women in this field
Technology is still a field that is considered male-dominated and as such it is sometimes a challenge to encourage young girls to join or even stay committed to the field. This is often seen in the poor turnout to events targeted at girls.
How do you see women such as you contributing to the future of the world?
I believe if we could learn to find the intersection where our instinct and creativity meet, we will be able to create life changing innovations which can have a positive impact on our communities.
pictures: Source: Fenix International