Ruth Kaveke’s Pwani Tecknowgalz Empowers Mombasa Girls with ICT Skills

Pwani Teknowgalz during Django girls workshop.

Ruth Kaveke is the co-founder and executive director at Pwani Teknowgalz, a non profit organisation in Mombasa Kenya whose aim is to bridge the gender gap in STEM careers in underrepresented areas. Ruth is also actively involved in STEM projects in Mombasa, such as ‘Mombasa Girls in STEM’, featured by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in one of their #eskills4girls videos.

She is vehement about search engine optimization tools and techniques that enables websites and web application rank highly on web browsers. Her Long term goal and aspiration is to establish the first girls-only technology hub in Mombasa to assist girls from underprivileged backgrounds learn computer programming at an affordable fee.

Ruth is a TechWomen alumni which is an initiative for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

Django girls workshop.

Pwani Tecknowgalz is a non profit organization based in Mombasa Kenya, that targets high school girls and universities students equipping them with ICT skills through programs and workshops with an aim of empowering the next generation of innovators, scientists, software developers and entrepreneurs.

The need to train more girls how to code emerged from the fact that only a few of the girls in her class at Technical university of Mombasa were interested in coding. Ruth and her two other friends who are also her co-founders;  Aisha Abubakar and Joan Nabusoba started training other students while still at the university. They later spread out to other universities around Mombasa and with time, due to increased demand we they started their organisation; Pwani Teknowgalz, where they worked with Techwomen alumni 2014 Kenya who were very passionate about empowering girls in Mombasa.

…over 800 high school  and 150 university girls trained…

Pwani Teknowgalz has managed to train over 800 girls in high schools and 150 at university level and they have seen a remarkable progress where ladies have built a career out of it as web developers and professional designers.

They have a well structured curriculum developed by the executive team members who are professional website and web application developers. The program runs for three months where students are taken through introduction to web programming up to advanced level. In addition, the students do a lot of practical lessons as the curriculum is structured to cover a large part of it. It is focused on but not limited to HTML5, CSS3, Python, web hosting, responsive design and content management systems such as WordPress.

Projects they are involved in include:

Technovation Challenge-Kenya

A program that challenges girls at high school level to develop mobile applications that solves a problem within their community. “We have managed to reach over 600 high school girls through this program since it was launched in 2015, Mombasa region,” says Ruth.

Django girls Mombasa

A two day workshop, which is part of a global initiative Django girls that introduces girls to computer programming using Django – a high-level Python Web framework, CSS and HTML. Through this program they have trained 120 girls from Taita Taveta, Eldoret, Meru and Kisumu.

Mombasa Girls in STEM

This is a Techwomen alumni 2014 initiative in partnership with Pwani Teknowgalz, whose aim is to strike an interest in girls to consider STEM courses in their career choices. On the first phase of its launch over 180 girls within Mombasa were involved. The second phase is happening this year where they are targeting 13 schools and over 200 girls.

Africa code week

This is a community capacity program whose aim is to drive sustainable learning impact across Africa, instilling digital literacy and coding skills in the young generation, it’s conducted around November every year. So far they have reached 160 girls  at Wema center, Mt. Sinai high school, Technical University, Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta university. The project is funded by Eskills4girls, an initiative which aims to increasing the number of girls in technology.

Website/python classes.

For sustainability Pwani Teknowgalz conducts programming and design classes at Swahilipot Hub, a technology space in Mombasa. The classes run from 8 am-10 am and from 10 am-12 pm for three months at an affordable price of Ksh. 10,000 per month. They have trained over 25 male and female students.

“Our objective is to have a first ever technology hub in Mombasa for women and girls this will  assist them learn, interact and engage with their mentors,” says Ruth.

We have received a massive support from Swahilipot Hub, where most of our events and programs take place together with our design and programming classes. We get donations from individuals and organizations as well. However we will require more training materials such as laptops for the girls who may not afford one but are dedicated to learning process,” she adds.