AkiraChix Association

AkiraChix Association: She builds, She serves, She leads

Nairobi, KenyaNairobi, Kenya
Year Founded:
2010
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

AkiraChix provides opportunities that reduce intergenerational poverty among young women from vulnerable communities by providing them with training in technology and entrepreneurship.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if a girl was given technology & entrepreneurial skills empowering her technologically and financially to serve and lead her community?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The technology sector is one of Kenya’s fastest growing sectors providing opportunities for well paying employment to both men and women. Unfortunately few women are taking advantage of the opportunities in this growing sector of the economy. Engaging in and pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering (STEM) and mathematics are attributable to traditional and cultural norms, attitudes and prejudices, poverty and ignorance.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

AkiraChix has developed programs to empower women and girls especially in ICT and Entrepreneurship, In line with the Sustainable Development Goal 5 - “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all women and girls”. This is a capacity building effort to not only increase the number of women in the Technology arena but also, mobilizing communities and partners to invest in girls’ education as this helps them venture into careers that revolutionize the communities they hail from. Young women from low income areas, will undergo a one year intensive course on programming, design and entrepreneurship, with the objective of equipping them with knowledge that will give them the opportunity to find financial independence and escape from poverty

Awards

iHub 100 Top Companies, ICTA Awards Kenya 2015
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Sharon Wangari comes from a humble background, having gone through a traumatic separation of her parents, which left her family in financial turmoil. She and her sibling got through school through the support of Consolata Shrine, which would chip in on their school fees. After missing the required grade for government to sponsor her university education, she decided to get a job to fund her education but did not succeed. Sharon then got to hear about the AkiraChix training program through Consolata Shrine, and successfully applied. She graduated from the class in December 2014, and now works as a User Experience Researcher and trainer with the iHub UX Lab. In her spare time, she volunteers as a trainer for bootcamps

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In the last 5 years, we’ve created opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the technology ecosystem for 61 talented, yet underprivileged girls. 30 more girls are set to graduate in December 2015 Number of girls trained and graduated in the last 4 years: 61% (61 students) - Year 2010-2011 - 18 students out of 35 graduates - Year 2012-2013 - 18 students out of 20 graduates - Year 2013-2014 - 26 students out of 30 graduates Number of girls currently being trained, class of 2015 : 30 students % job placement of students from the training program: - Year 2010-2011 - 10 students out of 17 graduates (58%) - Year 2012-2013 - 15 students out of 20 graduates (75%) - Year 2013-2014 - 17 students out of 30 graduates (56%)

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Currently, the Training program runs in Nairobi. Every year, we receive applications from different parts of Kenya. However, due to limited resources, our class can only hold 30 students. In order to accommodate a greater number of students and expand our reach, we are partnering with organisations and county governments in Kenya these are: Mombasa, Machakos, Kisumu and Kiambu to replicate the training program. Talks with Machakos county officials are in progress as an initial pilot for expansion outside Nairobi.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Akirachix is constantly applying for grants to keep running its activities. We are working on a 70-30 model where 30% of the money we have is from earned revenue. We run ICT boot camps where 90% of the attendees pay to attend and 10% are sponsored. We are targeting county governments and foundations to be partners in our “adopt-a-site”program as we expand the training program to other counties in Kenya.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Nairobits : They teach design to young men and women from low socio economic backgrounds. They have recently opened a Girls Center to train girls in design. We have in the recent past seen graduates from Nairobits apply for the AkiraChix training program as it provides a more wholesome program, providing graduates with skills and resources they need to get into the job market. Our program trains in Design, programming, entrepreneurship, life skills and communication skills. In addition, we partner with companies to make sure students have internships by the time they graduate.
Team

Founding Story

Three of the founders were working in the same IT company. The company shared office space with another IT company whose employees were 90% male. They used to assume that the three women in the other company were in the sales department until one day there was a joint activity for the two companies and the male developers were shocked to see the three ladies programming in Linux. This showed there were very few women in technology and for those few, not many were appreciated in the field. The three founders later met at the iHub and it's at the opening ceremony they noted the few women attending the event, they were about 10 women out of 300 attendees, that's when the AkiraChix idea matured

Team

There are four Directors and one accountant all who are full time and have Bachelor Degrees in the fields of technology and commerce respectively. There is an advisory board that meets quarterly to advise on the strategy of the organization. These are professionals in the fields of technology, social innovation and education. There are eight part time trainers all who are experts in their own fields i.e design, programming, entrepreneurship, life skills and communication skills
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Via Ashoka Change Makers Mailing list

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Co-Founder and Director of Training

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Recognized as Top 40 Under 40 Women in Kenya 2015
Honored as an Unsung Hero by the US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We have partners such as the iHub where we host our meetups, our funding partners such as SIDA and WeTech and also mentors within the tech ecosystem such as Juliana Rotich and Ory Okolloh

randomness