- The Russia deputy Permanent Representative to Kenya, Vladimir Lenev said the initiative is a game changer in bridging the digital gender disparity.
- The project has broadened the employability options for more than 500 female beneficiaries.
More than 300 women and girls from three counties in Western Kenya benefited from a fully funded scholarship on digital literacy and technical skills.
The FemiDevs Programme being run by Lakehub Academy is funded by the Russian government through the United Nations Development Programme.
The project, which enrolled its fifth cohort in June, targets young women from low-income backgrounds who are out of school or college in Kisumu, Busia and Migori counties.
The ladies are trained in web development skills for six months.
They are provided with laptops and internet access for in-person coaching.
The Russia deputy Permanent Representative to Kenya Vladimir Lenev said the initiative is a game changer in bridging the digital gender disparity.
He called on girls to embrace digital literacy, as it is the frontier for Covid-19 economic recovery.
Lenev spoke during an engagement meeting with the FemiDevs trainees to assess the programme’s progress in Kisumu.
The programme's lead in Kisumu Purity Akoth said the beneficiaries are equipped with key skills in front and back-end web development, entrepreneurship and graphic design.
This, she said prepares them to pursue STEM disciplines and build the necessary digital skills needed in the job market.
“They use these skills to innovative solutions that address community challenges. This programme has so far sponsored more than 500 girls between the ages of 18-35 since inception in 2020.
"We enrol girls who are green in ICT matters to get trained on web development and they are really catching up and liking it,” Akoth said.
The three participating counties produced 100 students each who are trained for six months and linked to relevant paid internships and job placement in the public and private sectors.
“Out of the 63 students, who joined the FemiDevs programme in the previous cohort, 41 completed 80 per cent of their projects.
"We are delighted to announce that 24 have been successfully placed on paid internships across various public, private and non-governmental organisations,” Akoth said.
The project has broadened the employability options for more than 500 female beneficiaries.
They have acquired skills in programming, software development, and web and mobile App development fields, breaking the digital gender stereotype.
Head of Exploration, Accelerator Lab UNDP-Kenya Caroline Kiarie Kimondo said the partnership is in alignment with UNDP’s digital strategy, which addresses equality, digital transformation, innovation and social protection.
“FemiDevs is intentionally and strategically curated to nurture, mentor, and offer the trainees both technical and social skills.
"The skills are tailored to foster entrepreneurship, innovation and employment opportunities,” she said.
The study by UNDP-Kenya on the impact of Covid-19 on micro, small and medium enterprises, shows women’s leadership and digital technology play a pivotal role in the recovery and resilience of businesses in the country.
“Digital inclusion is paramount in advancing socioeconomic progress in society,” Kimondo said.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)