Monday, October 28, 2013

Part 3 of 5 - AfChix Uganda Stories Featuring Emily Namugaanyi

Emily Namugaanyi is a member of the AfChix Network – she is a natural mobilizer, is enthusiastic about developing applications and she also delivers on time. She is proficient in systems analysis & design and programming in Python, Java, HTML and CSS. Emily recently completed her Bachelor of Software Engineering degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and will graduate in January 2014.

Emily missed attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing Conference that was held in Minneapolis USA (2-5 October 2013) because of a conflict of engagements after she was recruited by ThoughtWorks Uganda Ltd as an Application Developer. She had to travel to India for orientation at the ThoughtWorks University - a program designed for new hires to be introduced to the software world.

Emily had worked with her team members to successfully submit a paper for GHC 2013 entitled “Mobile Experiences for the differently-abled in Uganda”.  While at the ThoughtWorks University in India, Emily organized a “lunch and learn” session where she presented this paper. In response to her presentation that was well received, the following issues came up:

  1. Developers in the audience said that they had never thought about developing apps for the differently-abled users. The audience challenged Emily and her team to make a difference by developing apps for the differently abled.
  2. An app challenge was proposed as a method of creating awareness and getting developers to begin developing for the differently abled
Emily is flying high, has big plans for a career in software development and looks forward to being a first time GHC 2014 attendee in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

AfChix Uganda Stories on the GHC 2013 Experiences (Part 2 of 5)

Lisa Katusiime just completed her Bachelor of Software Engineering degree at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She awaits graduation in January 2014. Lisa was fortunate to be funded by the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Minneapolis (2-5 October 2013).
 Lisa is a ‘go-getter’ kind of person who does not let opportunities for growth pass her by. She loves coding and is proficient in Java, CSS, HTML and Shell scripting. Together with Isaac Omiat she recently won the first prize of the Community Innovations Awards funded by Orange Uganda Ltd.  They created an agricultural app called AgroMarketDay that features details of agricultural markets, market days, farmers and the products sold in different markets and districts in Uganda.

About the GHC 2013 experience, Lisa had this to say: “Listening to great women in technology talking about their experiences is a testimony of its own that any girl can become whatever she wants if she puts her heart to it and start working towards achieving it. It’s so great when women come together to network and share brilliant ideas because through such networks great ideas are formed that lead to greater things. One of the speakers at GHC, Megan Smith the vice president of Google [x], said something that I would like to share with women in technology that are upcoming ‘When you find your passion, you’re unstoppable because then you can do amazing things that you never imagined before’. Ladies find that one thing that you love doing and put your effort to it because ‘in effort there is joy’.

Lisa has created a Lean In circle called Afchix as a way forward for African women in technology to “come up with ideas that will impact people’s lives in our communities as well as moving our careers ahead. Please go to this link and join the circle” Lisa is grateful to the Afchix Network, Anita Borg Institute and the Network Startup Resource Centre for making her dream come true.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Part 1 of 5 - AfChix Uganda Stories on the GHC 2013 Experiences

Joan Nayiga is a final year Computer Science MSc student at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She got a chance to participate in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing Conference that was held in Minneapolis USA (2-5 October 2013) as a first time attendee.  This is what she had to say about the conference:

Being part of the GHC 2013 conference was such a great experience for me. This gave me an opportunity to present my poster entitled “Developing Computer Aided Tools for Pre-School Children”. The strengths and weaknesses of my research and poster presentation were pointed out and am now working towards improving these. Meeting with more experienced women in computing gave me a better understanding on how to plan my career in computing.

Sheryl Sandberg (CEO of Facebook and Author of Lean In) one of the keynote speakers made a statement:  “What would you do if you were not afraid” which really inspired me.  We met with so many inspirational women in computing. Some of these women received ABI Change Agent Awards like Dr. Shikoh Gitau and Violette Uwamutara who kept telling us never to be afraid no matter what but to go on and follow our dreams. This is the same message I would like to put across to other women in technology even those that are upcoming – to ALWAYS THINK BIG AND DRIVE FORWARD.

I am very grateful to the following: Anita Borg Institute for the scholarship, AfChix Network for reviewing my poster and encouraging me and my family for the moral and financial support.