On the 22nd of January 2021, the Digital Girls in Artificial Intelligence (DIGAI) program was launched by Rova Digital Limited. The program’s objective is to shape the next generation of women leaders in the digital economy by creating a pool of girls aged 18-25 who will impact at the bare minimum, the African continent. The main focus for the girls is a deep delve into the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Furthermore, they will be equipped with mentorship to facilitate their personal growth and to connect their career to the community. 

Thus far, seven girls are part of the program. They have been acquainted with their various career paths dependent on one’s skills, passion, and goals in life. For instance, Tiffany Lalampa is progressing on the Front-end and Graphic design path handling the visual elements that users interact with while Wanjiru Ndungu is pursuing Front-end Development and Business Intelligence which deals with data collection and analysis. Other career paths include System Administration focused on software services running seamlessly, Internet of things with importance to networks, and Communication which is anchored in digital marketing. 

The mentorship program has been customized and coordinated by e-mentoring Africa to bring out the best in each DIGAI member. It is divided into four phases; Self-awareness, Transition to career, Career growth, and development as well as Community impact through artificial intelligence. Presently, the girls have covered and completed the self-awareness phase of the program.  This included understanding ones’ personality in order to build a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat (SWOT) analysis which took place at the offices in the National Museum of Kenya. ‘The mentorship experience so far has been an eye-opener helping me in the journey of self-discovery’ said Saveline Njeri who is currently pursuing the Project Management path. The girls had an in-depth personality breakdown using various methods such as the color code and DISC tests. According to Tiffany Lalampa, ‘My mentorship so far has been about learning deeply about myself and my character. This has helped me find a sense of who I am and possibly get to know my purpose.’ Tiffany is also on the path of completing a Google certificate under G-suite deployment specialist. 

The physical session was followed by an online session of Purpose and Passion highlighting critical skills in career and life success. Activities such as the design thinking course as a team has taught the girls how to look at problems and offer solutions starting with the end in mind. Other lessons have been on building self-confidence and the power of personal branding. The DIGAI program strives to provide holistic learning. Internal education within the program has been coordinated by Anne Ochieng, the program facilitator. Topics range from technical skills such as website creation, database management and app development to soft skills such as hygiene, grooming and mental health. ‘DIGAI has helped me set goals for my future and realize where I want to be in life through mentorship. It has also given me an opportunity to network with different people.’ highlighted Ivy Bianca Atieno who is trailing on the System Administration path.

Daisy Wachira, currently progressing in the Data Engineering program has built Zoho creator applications for Rova Digital and completed the Amazon Web Service Cloud Practitioner certification. On top of that, she has engaged in the Kids Coding Camp program by Rova Digital as a trainer which has improved both her interpersonal and tech skills. Daisy will also be training among other DIGAI girls at the Tech4Girls Mobile App Development workshop by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMC) in April 2021. Additionally, she will speak at the Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit in April 2021. ‘It has been a continuous learning experience for me and I’m grateful for this intentional transition into my tech career. DIGAI has improved my confidence, my technical and communication skills especially from interactions with other DIGAI girls and engagement in projects.’ said Daisy. This comment shines light to an achieved objective of the program which is to create a team that can bid and deliver International tech projects. 

The next phase of mentorship for the girls will be ‘Transition to career’ which includes introducing mentors to the DIGAI mentorship program and building a personal face-to-face relationship with the mentees.  We are the best in Artificial Intelligence in Kenya.

By: Charity Mwathi