#TechWomenAfrica – Nanjira Sambuli leads the Web Foundation’s advocacy efforts to promote digital equality in access to and use of the Web. A Nairobi-based researcher and analyst, Nanjira brings broad expertise as an advocate and consultant working at the intersection of governance, media, culture and society. Find out more about her here
So I have been following Nanjira on Twitter since 2013. What drew me to her was the way she engaged ‘Africa’s big tech boys’ online with so much confidence. I have been so inspired by her work around ICT Policy and research and advocating for more women in the digital space. I personally find those areas really boring and seeing a woman slay confidently in those areas was a big deal for me. She was and has always been an advocate for women, so I have looked up to her and followed her closely since then.
So imagine how excited I was to connect with Nanjira and be in the same atmosphere with her over the 3 days of the Africa Summit For Women And Girls in Technology at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra? Awesome right?
I thought it would be great ask her about the vision of the summit, Web Foundation’s interest in connecting women to technology, policy and building a safe space for women to thrive on the web among other key questions.
Tired from organizing one of the most successful tech women focused conference in Africa, Nanjira made out time to talk to me about the success of the Africa Summit For Women and Girls in Technology, Web Foundation’s interest in connecting women to the web, why women should be involved in creating policies, creating a safe space for women on the web, the movement birthed at the summit among other conversations just a day after the summit ended and before my flight back to Lagos.
I hope you enjoy watching the interview, here are some excerpts from my conversation with her.
On the registration and selection process for the summit: Nanjira noted that over 600 women across Africa registered to be part of the summit in Accra and how hard it was for her and her colleagues to select just 250 of the 600 to attend the summit because of the limited resources available, but thanks to technology, provision was made for participants who couldn’t make it to Accra to stream the 3-day event online in French and English
I thought the content direction for this year’s summit was more diverse than that of 2016 which primary focus was on Policy. Nanjira explained why the focus was on technology skills, entrepreneurship and innovation. She talked about how the conference has helped crystallize the idea of policy and its importance on every area of technology, whether online or offline, women are involved with.
On women’s rights online, Nanjire thinks women were already left behind from the take-off of technology. She thinks by focusing specifically on women, useful policies will be created to help half the world population get access to the internet and the benefits that come with it.
Nanjira also believes a movement was birthed at the summit, women from across the African continent went back to their various countries with high hopes.
“For me, yesterday, the closing and looking back at the room, I realize the movement was there and its worth it… People left there with a whole WhatsApp group, this would be the most ambitious pan African WhatsApp group I will ever see” Nanjira says
Nanjira wants the world to be fixed for everybody and doesn’t think women should be fixed in a box.
Finally, build with women, by women and for women!
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