Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas.
Leaving no one behind is not just a slogan at Safaricom, it’s become an integral part of their work as various strides are constantly made to see that women in business, leadership and technology aren’t left behind.
Safaricom relies heavily on partners including suppliers, dealers and agents throughout their business ecosystem. They have increased the number of women-owned businesses, through the Women In Business initiative from which they purchase from. This tackles the issue of women disenfranchisment and youth employment by providing jobs to women and disadvantaged youth.
A great example is Fireside which undertakes contracts with Safaricom for Provision of Fixed Data Services, Customer Deployment and Support Services, as well as provision of Fibre Rollout services. This not only gives job opportunities to women, but bridges the gender equality gap in the engineering department of most educational institutions. They also shift the cultural understanding of the type of job a woman can do.
Women In Tech
Safaricom Women in Technology (WIT) is an programme of passionate women from Safaricom technology-driven divisions dedicated to inspiring women from different backgrounds to advance their careers from classroom to board room.
The Women in Technology program engages the whole pipeline from young kids, high school pupils, university students, employed, self-employed and unemployed youth in every county in Kenya and the impact has been felt in the industry. In Safaricom alone we have seen a 60% growth in the number of women in STEM in the last five years.
The Women in Business movement has sought to increase the number of women-owned companies doing business with Safaricom, in just under two years since its launch the number of prequalified women owned companies have tripled.
These efforts are geared towards creating an opportunity to tap into latent talent and innovative ideas sitting on the bench with our girls, whilst dynamic trends continue to emerge in technology
WIT was also involved in the Technology Academy for value-added internship. The academy has had its sixth intake since inception and now reserves a quota for People Living With Disabilities and has started the uptake of trainers of trainers from the technology division. WIT coordinates networking forums and the target for the next year is to go beyond career mentorship to balance in the overall.
Safaricom also continues to partner with other organisations with a goal of increasing the participation and representation of Kenyan women in the global technology sector.
Girls in Tech
Safaricom’s Women in Technology (WIT) initiative has partnered with Technovation, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring women in technology and entrepreneurship to launch the edition of the Technovation Challenge.
The challenge is a women-led 12 week app development and mentorship programme aimed at cultivating interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics studies as well as igniting young girls interest in ICT careers.
It’s unfortunate that most people still view women as less competent than men and lacking in leadership potential, and partly because of these perceptions, women encounter greater challenges to or skepticism of their ideas and abilities at work.
Because of the multiple roles that women play in society and especially in the workplace, the ability to perform effectively and efficiently seems a challenge to many. There are features within you that need to be harnessed and when well managed, will cause a ripple of intrinsic transformation to achieve excellence in all spheres of your life.
There are plenty of well-documented external barriers to women rising in the workplace—barriers that Safaricom is consistently trying to break through through the Women in Business program.
Also, this month, for the first time, Women in Technology (WIT) and Women In Business (WIB) met, to discuss ways to grow technology business, from nascent stages and sustaining the momentum. The theme was a call to action: Be Unlimited: Be Unbound: Be WITy