In the Gambia, Juma Baldeh created HackathonGirls to build the next generation of Gambian women in technology.
Ever since she was eight years old, Juma Baldeh dreamt big. She wanted to become a successful woman and knew that the road to success was built on courage, academics, and the love of learning new things.
After completing her BSc in Information Systems at the University of The Gambia, Juma started working as the product engineer at a Gambian software development company.
However, across the world and in The Gambia too, men continue to outnumber women in the tech industry. Girls are often discouraged from studying or taking on careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are still perceived as the domain of boys and men.
This has not discouraged Juma. She is determined to break these gender stereotypes by helping to build the next generation of Gambian women in technology.
In 2016, Juma founded HackathonGirls in the Gambian capital, Banjul. The organization provides web literacy for young girls aged 8 to 18, who are tutored by young dynamic women already working in tech.
“If the girls work together extraordinary things can be done in The Gambia.”
“There are many girls in The Gambia who are victorious in science fields through senior school and university, and many who frequently perform at the top of their classes, but many girls lose hope when it comes to actually preparing and interviewing for professional technology positions,” says Juma.
HackathonGirls is a platform to bring these girls together and encourage them to pursue a career in the IT industry with confidence and competence.
“If the girls work together extraordinary things can be done in The Gambia,” says Juma. “We meet every week to improve our IT skills in programming, website creation and web knowledge. We learn how to code, how to search the web, how to collaborate with other people online and how to protect our privacy and manage our security on the Internet.”
Being the big dreamer that she always was, Juma has even bigger visions for the young women she tutors.
“I dream of seeing these girls become CEOs of companies in new technologies in The Gambia. We really need these girls to take leadership roles here.”
For more information: https://hackathongirlsmozilla.wordpress.com