Tech giant Microsoft announced its new partnership with non-profit social enterprise Tech4Dev aimed at launching an initiative to train girls and women across Africa in coding and other deep tech skills. The campaign is generally meant to help bridge the digital and technology divide and ensure equal access to opportunities across the continent.
Dubbed the Women Techsters initiative, both firms will work together to mostly train girls and women between 16-40 across 54 countries. The technical skills that will be focused on include software development, product design and management, data science and AI and cybersecurity. These courses will be delivered through a series of simultaneous activities.
The program will involve open days, boot camps and masterclasses as part of ways to help the trainees learn technology for career and business growth.
During the launch event, Ghada Khalifa, Regional Director of Microsoft Philanthropies said, “When we empower girls and women in the ICT industry through greater access to skills and training, we not only unlock innovation but also economic opportunities.”
There is no doubt that the tech industry in Kenya and across Africa has been and still is quite male-dominated. So, it is about time that more girls and women got chances to develop skills that could potentially give them important roles in the industry.
The Women Techsters fellowship will be a year-long coding program designed to make use of standardised learning curriculums across five learning tracks. The training will run for three months alongside a six-month internship and enrolment into a mentorship programme.
Kendi Nderitu, Microsoft Country Manager for Kenya said that while much has been done on the continent to streamline upskilling in STEM areas, more and continuous efforts are required, particularly in industries that are ever-changing.
“The overall objective of Women Techsters is to grow and support a community of tech empowered girls and women across the continent, who will have equal access to decent job opportunities as well as build and scale their ideas into tech-enabled businesses and deep tech start-ups, ultimately aiding overall economic growth,” she said.
This program is also part of Microsoft Africa’s Inclusion plan, to skill up to 6 million people across the continent by the end of 2023. The initiative is first launching in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt with plans of spreading to more African nations.