I ran across an interesting post by Sunshine in the follow up coverage to BarCampKenya — a humble beginning for the Eastern African BarCamp community — the signs of yet another seed beginning to take root abroad.
I wanted to work in a cybercafe once, and the owner thought I was pretty enough to make a good receptionist, or possibly a great personal assistant. I remember using Opera in its formative stages and chided for ignorance when a failed page popped up as a result of a bug in the version at a cybercafe computer. Beauty is no curse, nor can I neglect to mention that Opera has improved considerably since then, but I digress for that disclaimer. After discovering more about the power of the entrepreneurs especially in developing markets, I now want to own a series of cybercafes, nee, become a premier ISP provider in the style of Africaonline.
I foresee a time when the fastest medium of connectivity in Africa will mature and we realise the incredible potential of this mobile phone age, in a country where there are over five million mobile subscribers and less than 100,000 active landlines (approximately), we have walked into a time of innovation and must work to find solutions to the social networking needs of these customers.
On a more positive note, I learned of the first Bar Camp in Kenya, where there was a gathering of intellectuals and techies interested in sharing ideas, networking, blogging and as well as exploring new technology in general. While we celebrate this inaugural event, and I plan to attend a similar future event, I still searched the presenter roster for a lady speaker. Whereas I I know several women personally who were trained in computer science at home in Kenya and abroad, we were missing in action. One cannot fail to notice the dearth in the blogosphere as well, for African women in ICT blogging or otherwise sharing about their work. Kudos to the team behind the Kenyan Bloggers Webring and African Women Blogs, for their efforts to reverse the downward trend and having support teams and bloggers who have expanded in number considerably.
I have no doubt that there is set to be a dramatic rise in the number of podcasts, blogs and writings that emerge from African women and Kenyan women in particular. Before that happens, more little girls have to have computer lessons, realise that this arena of computing, information technology and web 2.0 is theirs too, and pursue studies in computing to their highest potential. I hope to find examples of Kenyan tech blogging that highlight the few, the strong and the proud. Viva la techie femme!
I’m thrilled at the description of this vision and hope that the BarCamp community both continues to inspire, connect and provide social capital with which individuals can pursue such important goals, especially in the context of proactive inclusivity and the need for increasing diversity in the technology field.
I personally support Sunshine’s ambition to become “a premier ISP in Africa”. And I hope that somehow, the BarCamp community can reach out and bear witness to the realization of the goals of all who dare to dream so boldly.