Women from Nigeria and Nairobi to Be Honored at 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration
of Women in Computing
PALO ALTO, Calif. — August 26, 2009 —The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) today announced the three winners of the Anita Borg Change Agent Awards for 2009. These awards, underwritten by Google, honor technical women living and working outside the United States who work in their community to attract and support women in technology. This year’s winners are Oreoluwa Somolu from Nigeria, Anne Ikiara-Kabaara from Nairobi and Halima Ibrahim from Nigeria. The Change Agent Award winners are being recognized for their technical leadership and advocacy work.
The winners will be honored and will speak at the 2009 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Tucson, Arizona September 30 – October 3, 2009.
Oreoluwa Somolu, founder of Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre is passionate about empowering women/girls of Nigeria through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as well as encouraging them to take up technology careers. Her initiatives include the Networking for Success project, where women were trained to use web 2.0 tools to facilitate knowledge gathering and sharing in their work; the Girls Technology Camp, which exposed high school girls to the relevance of ICTs to academic and professional pursuits; her collaboration with Fahamu to organize Blogs for African Women and BAWO, a blog mentoring initiative for African girls.
Halima Ibrahim’s initiative the Mu’assassatul Mar’aatus Saliha Women’s Skill Acquisition Centre is one of the biggest initiatives to emerge from the Community Technology Skills Program in Nigeria over the last three years. It has empowered over a 1000 women in ICT and Handcraft skills while fostering local innovation and creating jobs and opportunities for people. These women have been motivated and equipped with knowledge that has made them financially stable and independent while working from their homes where they are often in seclusion. The rate of divorce among this group of women has reduced due to the economic empowerment of women because they are perceived to have more value in their homes.
Anne Ikiara-Kabaara is the General Manager of Nairobits Trust, an organization dealing with youth/women empowerment through ICT in the non-formal settlements of Nairobi. Anne is devoted to helping others to get further in their lives. Nairobits has a vision of giving youth technical, social and entrepreneurship skills to enable them to positively change the circumstances. Though Nairobits deals with both genders, they take extra effort and affirmative action to engage the girls. They have been successful in getting jobs for 1,500 underprivileged girls/women.
“The Change Agents exemplify how one person can make a difference in the world,” said Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute. “Each of them has worked to find ways to bring the positive benefits of technology to the lives of women in their country. They are truly role models for all our attendees.”
The world’s largest gathering of women in computing in industry, academia, and government, GHC is a four-day technical conference designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Conference registration is open until September 25, 2009. For more information, go to www.gracehopper.org.
About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) The Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technological innovation. ABI programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Google, Microsoft, HP, Cisco, Intel, National Science Foundation, NetApp, SAP, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Thomson Reuters, CA, Intuit, Amazon, Facebook, Raytheon, and Genentech. For more information, visit www.anitaborg.org.
Anita Borg Institute