Engineers and computer and digital enthusiasts, four young women decided to create a space intended to raise awareness among women to help them penetrate this area where they are poorly represented. In Dakar, the starting point for this initiative, progress has been observed.
These are the paths of education that Binta and his associates have taken in the hope of engaging their fellow human beings in topics related to technology. A “hub” called Jjiguene Tech Hub has been built to house the various actions constituting their action plan.
Commonly exploited to create a workspace whose main functions can include incubating young business start-ups, hubs help create an ecosystem favorable to digital development. The Jjiguene Tech Hub which is part of this dynamic nevertheless aims to promote and achieve women in this sector of the future; the word Jjiguene, woman in Wolof was chosen on purpose.
It calls out and sounds the rallying of women. “We want to be a model for girls and women who think that new technologies are reserved for men” loose Awa Caba co-founder of the structure, going back on their motivations on behalf of BBC Africa.
According to a report by the Mc Kinsey Global Institute, the digital sector in Senegal represented in 2013, 3.3% of the GDP. At the same date, although it was the country where digital technology dominated, Senegal was also the country where there were the fewest women working in this field. Also, the policy implemented by Jjiguène to fill this gap explores different axes.
Sharing knowledge, building and inspiring women for technology
Within the hub, various actions in line with their slogan “Share, Build, Inspire” are carried out. The training courses on the use of computing from playful to useful, break the ice that separates them from this world.
Learning coding, developing web and mobile applications, coaching in content management systems, strengthening young girls’ skills in the field of ICTs at school, organizing caravans in the cities of Dakar, Thiès and Saint Louis to meet young girls… are all awareness raising and training actions contributing to their integration.
To encourage entrepreneurship, the structure organizes the Djiguène Ci TIC competition open to all women aged under 35 or already in high school. Composed in teams of three, mostly women, they develop a digital solution and an economic model. The best idea receives funding from the Senegalese government that sponsors the competition.
Outside the Government, Jjiguene is supported by Microsoft as well as local structures. This support offers him the opportunity to provide his services free of charge and this is reflected in the quality of the results.
Positive outcome for Jjiguène Tech Hub
Bitilokho Ndiaye, technical advisor on gender and human rights at the Senegalese Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, believes that the founders of the Hub should not be ashamed of their actions. Indeed, by subcontracting the Djiguène competition, which is normally part of government policy intended to make more room for women in “tech”, the Senegalese state is showing confidence in the “hub”.
Binta Coudy, meanwhile, taking stock as co-founder, suggests that the impact of this initiative is “incredible”. According to her observations, the thirty women who joined Jjiguene on a permanent basis between 2012 and 2014 have improved considerably “in terms of capacity for expression, self-confidence and accomplishment”
In Africa, the Amazons of the Ivory Coast, the Akirachix of Kenya, Women in Technology in Uganda and the Asikana of Zambia are also part of this gender dynamic in digital. And, to go further, Jjiguene works in collaboration with each of these structures.