Judith Owigar

Judith Owigar

Akirachix

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Judith Owigar is a co-founder and president of Akirachix; a revolution for African women and technology. Through the Akirachix activities she seeks to increase the number of women who are creators of technological solutions and in effect change the perception of technology by women. During the week of September 20, she will be sharing her experience with our community. Join the conversation below!

Judith Owigar is passionate about all things women and all things technology. She places herself in positions where her two passions intersect. She believes that exposure, education and use of technology can increase the quality of life and as such change the world. She is a techpreneur, a blogger and a tech enthusiast.

Judith was recognized with the Anita Borg Change Agent Award 2011 by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. She has also been honored by the US Embassy in Kenya with the Unsung Heroes Award. This was in recognition of the work that Akirachix has done to promote women and give them a voice using science and technology. In 2012 and 2009 Judith was named as one of the Top 40 under 40 women by the Business Daily newspaper in Kenya. In 2007 she was named the Best Female Engineer at the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers students’ exhibition. Judith went to University of Nairobi where she graduated with a diploma and a degree in Computer science.

  1. 658 days ago

    Timothy Asiedu

    Hi Judith, I am highly impressed about the contributions you are making towards women through technology. You are impacting on the lives of women, and that will go a long way to improve upon the lives of such women you offer technology training to and their dependents since such women will secure jobs. I encourage you to keep up with the good work you are embarking upon in Kenya . The good Lord will continue to bless your efforts with your organization Akirachix to chalk more laurels.



  2. 667 days ago

    Okocha Nkem Christiana

    Hi Judith, you really inspire me.



  3. 668 days ago

    Sheshi Mwangi

    Hey Judith! I’m deeply humbled to see this here. You’ve been a true inspiration to me and will continue to be. Keep trail-blazing. There are many looking up to you.



  4. 672 days ago

    Cristina Guevara

    We’re working on launching a virtual platform that engages adolescent girls in a gender empowerment/human development program to lower their vulnerability to an early teenage pregnancy. Since this will be done through an online platform, we also aim to tackle the gender-based digital gap in Costa Rica.

    In this platform, we will feature a break-though technology section that we want to use as a space to encourage girls to develop their technological and IT skills. In that sense, I guess my question would be, how does Akirachix inspire and encourage girls to follow your training programs? What is your approach?



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Hi Cristina, what we do in Akirachix is make technology relevant to girls. We try to expose them to ladies who are doing things in tech so that they can see themselves in the shoes of these ladies. We also encourage them to come up with solutions relevant to them using technology. I guess I can say that relevance is key

      668 days ago


  5. 673 days ago

    Phoebe Brown

    It seems like your program is founded on a basis similar to ours — that young women need to develop confidence and life skills — with strong peer and adult mentorship — in order to really begin to succeed with skills and ideas. I’m interested in your principal of being “positively disruptive”. Could you talk a bit about this? @CrossStitchProj



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Hi Phoebe, when we talk about positively disruptive, we mean that we want to make a positive change to the tech ecosystem in Kenya and ultimately in Africa

      668 days ago


  6. 673 days ago

    Fortune Wills

    thanks judi,u got a point in all honesty i am inspired,wishing you the best and grow beyond your wildest dream.lots of love fortune



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Thanks Fortune

      668 days ago


  7. 674 days ago

    Beatrice ‘Hephzibah’ Kay

    Hi Judith, I am inspired by what you and your team have put together for the advancement of girls in Kenya. My question is how does this work, is there a form of hub/working space and a market place for the girls to market their skills? Do they get a work experience/placement or they go on to start their business? Also what were the challenges you faced, how were you able to sell the idea and convince the girls and the community they needed the training/mentorship? Did you get girls from rural areas who have never been exposed to any form of technology? How did you manage the situation? Would you explore the possibility of replicating Akirachix in other African countries?

    The world is beginning to realise if we do not invest in women, doom is close. I think women in all sectors need some form of support. I plan to setup a girls startup clinic where there is a business and health clinic for girls and women. The health unit will be mainly advisory, there will be consultants/doctors who will be able to give advise on health issues and refer to clinics or therapists. The business clinic will focus on starting up, registration, financial planning, cashflow, structure, tax, sustainability, training etc. We want to also offer a workspace at a fee which will include a daycare/nursery for mothers. I know it is a project that will be achieved an idea/step at a time via studying the market, needs, the environment and making necessary adjustments where applicable. With what you have been able to do with Akirachix and your experience, how do you see this playing out in Africa, what advice and input would you give?



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Hi Beatrice, Thanks for the comment, Akirachix is actually based in the iHub, a space for technologists and creatives, this is where we get the trainers and also the future employers for these girls. Since the people in the space already know what we are doing and are a part of it, they are willing to give the girls internships and placements. It was not hard to sell the idea to the girls because there is already an existing need for further education. For them to get better jobs the industry in Kenya usually requires post high school education. In fact we usually have a hard time selecting the girls because demand is so high for the training program.

      668 days ago


    • Judith Adem Owigar

      We currently work with girls from the urban areas because that is where our reach is. With more funding we could move into the rural areas. We are in the process of working with partners who have similar initiatives in different parts of Africa. Since we cannot physically go to different countries we work with the ladies in those countries and share what we know with them. We currently work with ladies in Uganda and Zambia. We are looking to partner with other ladies groups in Africa. I think the Startup clinic is a great initiative, there is need for such programs to support women and girls. I believe that by supporting women entrepreneurs to build businesses and health you will change Africa’s future

      668 days ago


    • Cristina Guevara

      Hi Judith, I checked the iHub initiative… very interesting! so does that mean that you use this facilities to implement your programs? Furthermore, is this an open community where employers come looking for talent?

      668 days ago


    • Beatrice ‘Hephzibah’ Kay

      Thanks for your answer and comments, Judith. Appreciate. Good to know you work from ihub, I am certain the tech space and partnership will go a long way to help the girls scale. The need for more girls in tech in Africa cannot be overstated. I am inspired by what you are doing to empower girls and look to hear of more milestones.

      662 days ago


  8. 674 days ago

    Kushbu Gurpreet Loyal

    judith, I commend you for putting together the things you love! it takes heart and conscious reflection to be able to do that.
    this is a great endeavour – i sincerely believe that the three things you mentioned, “exposure, education and technology” lead to EMPOWERMENT of women. Women are at the centre of a network that balances, health, family, education, hygeine. If we empower the source, all things afromentioned will be positively influenced as well!



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Thank you Kushbu!

      668 days ago


  9. 675 days ago

    Judith Adem Owigar

    To see more on my work go to http://www.akirachix.com, I’m glad to be featured here.



  10. 675 days ago

    Sanshine Lwanga Nassali

    Great bio you have got there Judith. In all honesty, i have been inspired :-) .

    Just want to kindly share with us what has helped make you what you are today!



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Thanks Sanshine. I must say the greatest thing that has helped me is the network around me. Most of the opportunities I got were referred to me by people I talked to. Never be ashamed of the work you are doing no matter how little it seems as long as it is changing a life for the better it counts.

      675 days ago


  11. 675 days ago

    Fortune Wills

    so i would want to ask you to share your experience and suggest other accessible ways one can improve their lives to a reasonable degree,thank.fortune[Nigeria]



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      I have worked with Akirachix in the meet ups, training program, high school mentorship and university outreach. The best advice I can give is to start where you are and with what you have. Once people see what you are doing, you will attract the right people to work and partner with.

      675 days ago


  12. 675 days ago

    Hellen Owino

    Hello Judith,
    I like your initiative and agree that technology use does increase quality of life.
    We have an IT based sexuality curriculum for young people and through it we are able to build the capacity of young people aged 12 to 24 on basic ICT skills which goes a long way in preparing them for the job market. With the program we are able to reach out to even young people in the rural areas through the school setting. The youth out of school are also not left out as we have sessions with them.



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Hi Hellen, I like the sound of your initiative. It sounds very interesting. Where are you based?

      675 days ago


    • Hellen Owino

      Hi Judith, We are based in Nairobi, but have the program implemented in four provinces, Nairobi, Coast, Central – Nyeri, and Nyanza – Siaya and Kisumu

      674 days ago


  13. 675 days ago

    Fortune Wills

    dear am passionate about how improve the lives of women especially the unemployed and underdeveloped one,



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      That’s great. What ideas do you have in mind?

      675 days ago


  14. 675 days ago

    SkyAngela Leonor

    Dear Judith,

    I am more concern about how to help women with disability.Can you suggest some other accessibility ways we can make their lives easier through collaboration.Thanks



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Hi SkyAngela, this is also something that Akirachix has been thinking about. We have contributed to building a part of the Computer Aid International MagMe project for visually impaired people. To work with women with disability I suggest working with them to co-create solutions that target them.

      675 days ago


  15. 675 days ago

    Ratnagiri Divakar

    good and welcome Judith. we are interested to learn about your work.
    we are working on graduation pilots of Ultra Poor women in India. This work may be similar in many ways with what you are doing. Hope it would be interesting to you. Pl visit http://www.sksngo.org



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      Hello Ratnagari I went through your site, great work you are doing. It is of interest to us especially us we develop our training program

      675 days ago


  16. 677 days ago

    ThienVinh Nguyen

    Hi Judith! Great to have you on board as a Thought Leader. Can you share with us how you ended up being passionate about working in the tech field? Were you supported by those around you? In addition, did you face any personal barriers to get you to where you are today?



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      I was encouraged to enter the field of technology by my elder brother. I was always interested in the science and math and with time I realized this was a good fit for me. In college I was supported by my classmates. While there I learnt a lot about team work and the strength of networking. My friends and family supported me even though they did not understand what I was pursuing :-) At the beginning I also did not see the value of the Technology despite the fact that I was building a career in it. When I finally saw how tech is relevant in life and the difference it can make to people’s lives my passion for it grew. From these experiences I try to make tech relevant to the people I interact with. Once people see the relevance they start seeing the problems it can solve and thus build solutions.

      675 days ago


  17. 678 days ago

    Dani Matielo

    Dear Judith, thank you so much for joining this conversation! I would like to ask you to share, from your experience, what was the most amazing experience that you witnessed regarding technology being developed by women, to women? Thank you!



    • Judith Adem Owigar

      I once worked in a project with adolescent girls who were designing technology solutions for themselves. It was an eye opening experience to see the world from their eyes. It inspired to start thinking of solutions for women. We have tried to do that in Akirachix by organizing the first Geek Girl Hackathon in Kenya. We hope that the solutions built will benefit women and girls. We would like this to be an annual event so that there is a constant source of app that target women.

      675 days ago