Microsoft has recruited engineers to work in its new Africa Development Centre in Kenya and Nigeria.
This is aimed at building support for local women in ICT.
The company is encouraging more women to pursue and thrive in careers in technology through initiatives like WISE4Afrika.
Though the ADC Nairobi has hosted its first LEAP hackathon for 26 female developers in June, challenging participants to design creative solutions in AgriTech and FinTech using cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.
However, this was followed by the expansion of the Cloud Accelerator Programme for women-led firms into Kenya, and the launch of the Women in Software Engineering (WISE) Mentoring Program through Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative.
The initiative is currently mentoring a group of female software and engineering students from Strathmore University, offering virtual and in-person coaching and experiential learning opportunities over nine months.
WISE4Afrika is an initiative created by women technology leaders at the Microsoft India Development Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft Kenya.
While starting with a single university, the program hopes to follow an approach of starting small to succeed, learn, improve and then scale.
Participants are encouraged to use emerging technologies, like Machine Learning and AI, to build solutions and publish them on app stores, contribute to open source, participate in hackathons, and submit proposals for papers at conferences.
The Business Development Manager for 21stCentury Skills at Microsoft, Wanjira Kamwere said that:
“Through programs like WISE4Afrika, we’re exposing more women to mentorship from female engineers, executives, educators, and entrepreneurs creating a culture where more women are attracted to STEM and see themselves having careers in the ICT industry”.
“Diversity fuels better innovation and better business, which is why we’re actively focused on promoting diversity in today’s workforce.”