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Ugandan software engineers set for women in tech global awards

Setting the pace: An Andela team at a recent event.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | In the heart of the Kampala suburb of Kamwokya, women technologists are scaling heights in software development, an area previously associated mostly with men.

Their programme Women in Technology run by Andela Uganda is among those shortlisted for the global Women in Technology Award slated for May 15, 2019.

The Women in Technology Global Award is organized by Paris-based Women in Tech Challenge, an organization rooting for diversity in the technology world.

Andela Uganda’s initiative, which is targeting women with a dream of being technology geniuses to follow through their dream, was shortlisted under the Education category. Another technology Company called Zimba Women Uganda was also shortlisted in the entrepreneurship category.

Andela is an outsourcing company that recruits and trains young people across Africa to become software developers. The programme was an initiative to increase the number of women able to get opportunities in the technology industry around the world. It has been adopted by other Andela outlets in Africa.

Maria Kyamulabi, the community manager at Andela, said they focused on growing the women not just as software developers but also through leadership and entrepreneurship.  Since January 2018, some 600 women have applied to join the programme –about 200 have gone through the sieving process to join the programme.

Since its start in 2014, the initiative has captured the interest of big companies raising millions of US dollars in support to run their programmes. Early this year, it raised USD 100 million in fundraising led by former US president Al Gore’s company Generation Investment Management – one of the highest amount a start-up based in Africa has raised.

It is a six-week programme for each cohort intake for women. It is free of charge. For the participants, this means a world has been opened for them as Maria Nanfuka narrates.

Another participant Suzan Nakatudde said the programme meant a chance to interact with some women leaders leading different technology organizations, which gives them energy and assurance that they can achieve more.

The women who go through the programme have an opportunity to work as software developers for Andela partner companies like Google, Facebook among others. They work for these companies from here. This helps cut down on the brain drain afflicting much of the continent and helps to develop local tech ecosystems. Other Andela-trained people go on to found their own technology start-ups.

Kyamulabi said the programme would continue taking in more women to ensure diversity in the sector.

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