In-depth training on IT systems and entrepreneurship will help underprivileged young women find employment or launch their own enterprises.
The Tanzanian registered social enterprise Apps and Girls has been selected to receive a grant through the Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme (SAIS II) Innovation Fund, which is supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in partnership with the ministries responsible for innovation in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. The grant will go towards implementing the Advanced IT Training & Online Incubator for Women Project in partnership with French-based Women’s WorldWide Web (W4), a crowdfunding platform dedicated to girls’ and women’s empowerment across the globe. This project was one of twelve projects selected through SAIS II's competitive call for proposals issued earlier in 2018.
Accepting the grant award at a launch held in South Africa, Apps and Girls founder Carolyne Ekyarisiima said, “What we want to do is basically promote economic empowerment for 170 underprivileged girls and young women between the ages of 17 and 24 years. Of these girls, some will be able to find employment, but others will have to create their own start-ups. We essentially want them to tap into information and communications technology and find solutions to improve their livelihoods.”
The 18-month project will provide up to 200 underprivileged young women in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Kenya with the opportunity to access advanced IT and entrepreneurship skills training that they need to find employment or develop and launch IT-based (social) enterprises. This will be done by offering 400 hours of advanced IT training and 50 hours of entrepreneurship skills development training. An online start-up incubator will be established through the partnership with W4, which will host mentorships and fundraising for the social enterprises initiated by the participants.
We intend that the outcomes of this project, such as the incubator, will not only support Tanzania, Kenya, and the DRC, but the entire African continent.
The project proposal is in response to SAIS II funding window of Inclusive Innovations, which funds projects that develop a better understanding of technologies and methods facilitating the collaborative development of innovations within socially and economically excluded communities. Apps and Girls has been working throughout Tanzania to bridge the tech gender gap by providing quality coding training (web programming, mobile app development, game development, and robotics) and entrepreneurship skills to girls in secondary schools via coding clubs, and to university-level students at academic institutions.