#TechWomenAfrica – The second edition of the Africa summit for Women and Girls in Technology may have come and gone, but the memories created at this summit will live on forever.
I was very excited when I got the ‘SAVE THE DATE’ email from Web Foundation in July, the email was to announce the date and registration for the 2nd Africa Summit for Women and Girls in Technology. I was fortunate to be part of the very first edition in 2016 in Accra and had also curated my experience and takeaways and it was just proper to be excited to want to be part of one of the largest gatherings of tech women in Africa. I registered immediately and hoped to be selected.
Fast forward to September, I leapt for joy when I got the mail informing me of my selection and full sponsorship to participate at the summit in Accra. I immediately started thinking of the wonderful visual moments I would be creating, women across Africa I would be meeting and inspiring stories I’d be hearing.
In my article on my takeaways from the 2016 summit, I shared about my resolve to support causes to get more women involved in technology and also tell stories of women doing great stuff as much as I can. I have been doing just that, I now mentor young girls with interest in technology, support organizations/groups who connect women to tech opportunities and I try as much as possible to tell women stories across my social media platforms, especially on YouTube.
At the 3-day summit, I made new friends right from the bus shuttle at the airport from Tanzania, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria etc.
I had the opportunity to curate participant’s expectations for the summit on Day 1, the atmosphere was charged and women across different disciplines across Africa had so much to say:
Busayo Obisakin doesn’t want women to be left out of the web, she wanted to hear more on how we can collectively get more women online
Asacia who is an Academic from Mozambique wanted more conversations around women’s right and safety online
Isaac from Ghana thinks gender is for everyone, “we need to be each other’s keeper” he says. He thinks we need more men involved in women issues
Nadia and Emerald from Ghana just wanted to have fun and meet people, especially designers
There was power charged panel sessions over the 3 days of the summit in Accra. Notable among them for me were those that had Aminata the 21-year-old Senegalese Designer, Jama Jack from The Gambia, The lawyer from Zimbabwe among others.
I particularly loved that the focus for this year’s summit was more on innovation, entrepreneurship and skills, unlike 2016 where we talked more about policies.
There were moments that stood out for me at the event and one was when Nigeria’s former Minister of Information Communication Technology and honorary Chairperson of The Alliance For Affordable Internet, Dr Omobola Johnson talked about how she became Minister during her panel session. She explained how she received a call from the Nigerian President to be a member of his cabinet as Minister.
Nnenna Nwakama also gave an astounding pep talk to women across the room during one of her contributions to one of the panel sessions. She charged us up, I think you really just have to watch this yourself, can’t say so much. In summary, she said WOMEN IN TECH HAVE TO BE WORLDWIDE USEFUL
There were other exciting moments at the 3-day summit curated by other amazing women who participated at the summit physically in Accra and virtually across the world. You should check out the #TechWomenAfrica hashtag on Twitter
At the end of the 3-day summit, I also took time out to curate experiences of some of the participants at the event:
Naima and Dana learnt about community networks
Zuhura and Lujeen were so inspired by all the ladies from across the African continent
Jama Jack says African women power is REAL
Tope met potential partners for her organization at the summit
Nanu from Liberia is excited about the fact that she can now create a Wikipedia page
Omotola says being a woman in tech is not about being a stereotype geek that doesn’t have a life
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of the interviews I had with some of the amazing women at the summit starting with Nanjira Sambuli, Senior Policy Manager at Web Foundation, Dr Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Former Minister of ICT, Jama jack, Aminata. Misan, Abeedah and a host of others. These interviews will birth a new series on my YouTube Channel called the Women Series. These series will focus on sharing compelling stories of women in tech and women who use tech in the most impactful and inspiring way in business, career, development and every form.