“ You join LakeHub Academy, a technology and social innovation hub. You meet a group of young women working together to create innovative solutions. All eager to learn quickly and do things they have never done before. Results aren’t perfect, but it’s a good start, great enough to learn from and keep growing” ~ Rose Adhiambo Oginga, cohort 4 FemiDevs student.
LakeHub recognizes the vast opportunities that digital literacy is providing for the economic empowerment of all. Through the FemiDev Program, we are fostering women’s and girls’ full participation and inclusion in the digital economy, while addressing ingrained stereotypes and social norms that exacerbate discrimination against women, robbing them of much-needed support and self-confidence to progress in life.
We caught up with Rose Oginga, a Maths and physical education teacher who quit her job to pursue a career in Web Development. She shares her insightful transition.
When did you develop an interest in Tech?
I used to work for a betting company (GameMania) as a customer care agent. Any technical issue regarding the gaming operating system had to be resolved by a team at the headquarters in China. As a natural problem-solver, I was intrigued to know whether some of the issues could be fixed locally — how the operating system is built and maintained. That curiosity led to my passion for tech which has now led to my purpose.
How did you know about LakeHub?
In collaboration with some friends, we started a Community Based Organisation (CBO) in Nyakach, Kisumu, to address some of the challenges facing the girl-child. For ease of communication, we created a WhatsApp group. One day, while scrolling through the messages, I came across a link to the FemiDev Program. I opened it, liked what I read, and then applied.
Did you have any knowledge or training in Information Technology (IT) before joining the LakeHub Academy?
No. My computer knowledge or digital literacy was self-taught after I joined campus. I had to wipe the metaphorical blood on my laptop to finish assignments. To-date, if I don’t know how to perform a task, I simply Google it, and then follow the steps or instructions.
What are some of the personal sacrifices you have made to be here at LakeHub?
I am a teacher by profession and I used to teach Maths and Physical Education at Abwao Mixed Secondary School. I had to quit my job to complete this course at the Academy.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to female empowerment?
Lack of mentorship. There aren’t enough role models to encourage girls and young women to chase their hopes and dreams despite the untold and unexamined social norms barriers that they face in life. Girls need proper guidance and support on how to cope with the tectonic shifts of life.
How do you think we can stop gender bias?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution but initiative precedes widespread action. Practising equality in all our institutions, including the regimented education system, is a good place to start. LakeHub is driving forward the gender equality agenda with inspiring velocity, through this FemiDev program, by giving women a chance to enter and thrive in the male-dominated tech industry. Parity changes the dynamics at the table.
In what ways do you think your newly-acquired digital skills will impact the future?
Progress is only worth something if it improves people’s lives. I intend to lend the tech playbook to others, preferably women back home in Nyakach. Hopefully, digital transformation shall translate to economic transformation.
What tech project are you currently working on?
In class, we are currently learning how to clone the Twitter App. Outside the classroom, I am developing a business consultancy website for a friend.
As a software product developer or coder, what strengths do you consider the most critical?
Creativity and the ability to collaborate.
What do you enjoy the most about your lessons?
The challenges. Developing a software product or website using complex programming language can bend your mind to its limits.
I would want to share my experiences with the next cohort and help them succeed. Where grass has grown, grass will grow!