If there’s something I’ve come to appreciate over the past week is the beauty of strong network connectivity. After spending a couple of days in Ngurunit and learning about the hardships that the residents of the area faced for years without stable network connections, I’ve come to truly appreciate and respect the work that the various teams do to ensure this.
Furthermore, with Safaricom celebrating 20 years of being in the Kenyan market and using every moment possible to transform lives through innovative products and services, it’s also refreshing to see the telco being one of the companies in Kenya promoting inclusivity thus empowering women and promoting gender equality – an aspect crucial to accelerating sustainable development.
One of the drivers of change involved in this initiative is Naisenya Mungai, a Network Optimization and Automation Engineer at Safaricom and a Safaricom’s WIT (Women in Technology) 47/47 champion for Samburu County. This is part of the Safaricom’s 47 in 1 initiative of providing a solar powered computer lab to 1 primary school per county across the 47 counties in Kenya. As the captain for Samburu County, they launched the only solar powered computer lab in a primary school in Suguta MarMar Primary School.
WIT is a programme of passionate women from Safaricom technology-driven divisions dedicated to inspiring women from different backgrounds to advance their careers from classroom to boardroom.
Using technology to better the lives of Kenyans
A Network Optimization Engineer surveys and plans coverage sites where there is zero network coverage. They also plan capacity sites to mitigate congestion issues in the network as a result of the over-utilization of network resources. A network optimization engineer ensures that all the network voice and data KPIs are met for their subscribers to enjoy seamless calls, browsing – be it watching Netflix, or YouTube and having a clear voice and video calls on Zoom, WhatsApp, or Microsoft Office.
In 2019, Naisenya and two of her colleagues, came up with a Fiber to the Home Chatbot prototype to reduce demand to the contact center. By utilizing Machine learning, they were able to train the bot to answer fiber to the home-related questions from customers in English, Swahili, and Sheng.
Also in 2019, Naisenya got an opportunity through Safaricom’s Digital Academy to acquire digital skills and thus be fit for the future. For 7 months, she got the chance to learn Mobile and Web Development, Data Science, Cyber Security, DevOps, 5G, and IoT. She specialized in Mobile and Web development via Moringa School. Through the Academy, she acquired skills that she is currently using in her role as an Automation Engineer. Her job involves the automation of repetitive tasks thus saving man-hours that can be utilized in performing other tasks and faster resolution of network issues.
Why is she so passionate about tech?
She sees technology as a driver with immense possibilities in terms of solutions to problems affecting us as individuals, as a society, and even solutions to environmental issues.
There is still a huge misconception that engineering is a male career and that is why programmes like WIT exist to create opportunities for girls.
Using technology to better the lives of ordinary Kenyans has been her greatest achievement. Her work through Safaricom has ensured that in places like Makuka, Ngangani, Kyamathyka, Syongila, Musengo, ordinary Kenyans are able to send and receive money at the comfort of their homes and are able to communicate with their loved ones in different parts of the country. Overall, this is part of showcasing Safaricom’s commitment to connecting communities as they commemorate 20 years of existence in Kenya.