The Women In Technology Huawei (WITH) program partnered with the DigiTruck program in May 2021 to provide training in digital skills for more than 80 women in Garbatulla, a remote village in Iosolo county, and Samuburo county. In this post, I’ll introduce the two programs, talk about the impact of the joint project, and outline future plans.
Women In Technology Huawei (WITH) was launched in 2019 with the aim of empowering, connecting, and supporting current and future generations of women.
WITH is based on the concept of “partnering WITH others” and is designed to provide women with role models through mentorship, skills, opportunities, and support to develop interests, careers, and leadership in STEM.
So far, WITH training and mentorship programs and competitions have reached 1,787 young women and female entrepreneurs.
Converted from a shipping container, each DigiTruck is a fully solar-powered mobile classroom equipped with 20 laptops and a network connection and can be driven on the back of a truck into communities that lack training facilities and even a power supply. So far, the DigiTruck has provided over 30,002 hours of training for 1,794 people in Kenya, including 813 since the pandemic began and 363 in 2021 alone.
WITH + DigiTruck: A Powerful Force for Empowerment
The DigiTruck and WITH partnership was designed to have a sustainable impact on the future of young women by delivering digital skills, helping to bridge the gender gap in higher education, and close the digital divide.
During the first week of the truck’s arrival in Iosolo, the truck trained only women. Not only did the course focus on digital skills, it also looked at soft skills – for example, “out of the box thinking”, work ethic, and career development. Integrating these “missing links” with digital skills will enhance employability, as well as enable women to take the lead within their communities in terms of knowledge transfer.
There was great feedback from the young women in the community and how effective the training was to their lives.
DigiTruck student Aishu gives feedback on the programDigiTruck student Fatuma gives feedback on the program
As a woman who works in the digital sector and seeing how important technology is to our daily lives, I know that it’s imperative to create the same opportunity for every young woman and also to empower women entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. Moreover, allowing marginalized communities to develop digital skills will enable them to turn their communities into digital hubs, which can in turn improve overall digital literacy, enhance competency, and build digital capacity through innovation. It will also allow young women to go online to find jobs, work online, help advance the nation’s socioeconomic plan, and participate in the government’s Ajira Digital program.
These benefits adds up to improving the country’s socioeconomic plan through developing the digital economy.
The Iosolo Digitruck could also leverage the extensive mobile broadband and fiber network coverage that Huawei has helped build across the country over many years.
We plan to target all 47 counties in the country and ensure that we have trained at least 70% of young people, especially young women in the next 5 years – they will be the future digital innovators using the new technologies that can create a better society.
Joseph Oliech, Project Manager for Computer for Schools Kenya believes that’s imperative to reach the remotest corners of the country to provide digital skills to those who need it most. CFSK operates the DigiTruck program in Kenya alongside the NGO, Close the Gap.
Together we will be launching a new DigiTruck later this year. We will work closely together with various partners, including the government, the UN, and Safaricom, enhancing existing programs and the reach to remote areas. This will make it more likely for the DigiTruck to have real impact and be sustainable. In addition to helping young people get digital skills which the current Digitruck focuses on, this one will also leverage on Safaricom’s extensive mobile broadband network coverage that Huawei has helped build to help youth go online to find jobs or do online work as part of the government’s Ajira initiative.
DigiTruck is part of Huawei’s global TECH4ALL initiative
More about WITH
Huawei’s WITH initiative has six pillars covering all aspects of Huawei’s business in Kenya:
HR & AdminPartners & CustomersProcurementICT AcademyCSRManagement & Communications
These were chosen to match with our business programs and functions, along with the greatest needs and opportunities to have an impact. We pledge to support our women employees, women business owners, and women employees in our customers and contractors, as well as women studying ICT with our academic partners. We aim to use CSR programs to help those who are still in school or outside formal education to inspire them to study ICT, deliver suitable training programs, and provide role models for girls and women.
Driving Inclusive Education with Technology [Guest post from the Kenyan government]Smart Business Models Are Needed to Connect Schools & ClinicsJoin the Huawei Women Developers ProgramRead More