Surfacing New Ideas to Empower Women in Kenya

News |November 13, 2014

The tech field is far from gender-balanced and so too are conversations about the use of tech in solving social problems.

In light of this, Making All Voices Count launched #IncYOUbateIt alongside AkiraChix, a competition aimed at providing a platform through which women’s voices, experiences and narratives are included in the conversation about social impact of technology.

The event concluded on Friday November 7, 2014 with two emerging winners: Kona Mbaya, an app to map and build awareness of particularly low areas of security for women and Socially Keen Individuals Redefining the Tech Space (S.K.I.R.T.S), a platform to address cyber bullying and cyber insecurity within the online space.

The programme has adopted these smaller, more focused, country level competitions to invite ideas from non-traditional actors and these events sit within the programme’s competitive approach. As Innovation Director Daudi Were explains:

Pitching Events are another tool to surface potentially innovative and impactful ideas from individuals and organisations who may be more comfortable in verbally presenting their prospective ideas, than submitting in the written form.

Winners receive a process of incubation, for up to six months, aimed at further developing and strengthening projects, and based on this may be granted funding from the programme in the future.

The #IncYOUbateIT Jury

The #IncYOUbateIT Jury

Kona Mbaya – An app that will sensitise people on security matters within Nairobi by mapping black spots and high insecurity places for women. The app can be scaled to focus on a number of security areas including alerts to relevant government authorities on incidences of violence and robbery. The idea is also practical in the sense that it can be linked to the justice system in Kenya and barriers to women accessing justice in Kenya following incidences of insecurity.

Socially Keen Individuals Redefining the Tech Space (S.K.I.R.T.S)- An initiative to address cyber bullying and cyber insecurity within the Kenyan online space; following increased cases of online spaces being used to perpetuate ethnic hatred and attack ordinary citizens, celebrities, and politicians, especially women. The idea addresses a central problem in the current Kenyan context on cyber bullying and the perpetration of hate speech in Kenya. The idea could be scaled for legislative lobbying around online spaces.

Yvonne Oluoch, from winning team: S.K.I.R.T.S.

Yvonne Oluoch, from winning team: S.K.I.R.T.S.

“This event provided a platform for young women to engage with themes around the use of tech to address social issues such as gender-based violence, as well as broader community issues and to begin the process of thinking about government engagement through their projects,” reflects Programme Officer Monica Nthiga. “As the ideas are still in a preliminary stage, in the process of incubation, the Making All Voices Count team will work closely to ensure they’re aligned to the programme’s goals of strengthening citizen engagement and government accountability.”

The programme’s second Pitching Event, #EdTech has launched in the Philippines and Indonesia and is currently scouting for ideas to improve the areas of governance in the educational sector and education for resilience and response to humanitarian crisis.

The contestants and Jury at #IncYOUbateIT

The contestants and Jury