Here in the United States we have been talking a lot lately about the lack of diversity in the tech sector, but over in Senegal there is a tech hub run by women for women.
Just like the US, there is a problem with getting women into the tech industry in this African nation–women hold only 35 percent of IT jobs. But this new hub is helping change this.
The Jjiguene Tech Hub (Jjiguene means “woman” in Wolof, Senegal’s most widely spoken language) was co-founded by Awa Caba and Coudy Binta De and two other female computer engineers. It is the country’s first technology hub run by and for women. Located in Sacre Coeur, a middle-class suburb of the capital Dakar, it offers free training courses, not only for women but also at elementary and secondary schools around the country. The program covers a range of topics from basic introduction to IT to computer coding.
The hub has attracted local business sponsorship as well as support from US giant Microsoft, which has an office in Dakar, reports the BBC.
This could open up a lot of opportunities for women in Senegal as Internet-facilitated business contributed 3.3 percent of Senegal’s GDP–the highest level for any African nation– with Kenya ranked second with 2.9 percent, according to a 2013 study by the McKinsey Global Institute think tank.
The Hub has big goals. De says: “All the success stories [in Senegal’s IT sector] have been about men. “But we have always known that there are a lot of women who are perfect [for the industry].”