KENYA – Huawei Kenya has launched a programme to mentor women pursuing ICT-related courses. The Women in Technology Huawei Initiative (WITH) mentorship programme is expected to bridge the gender gap in digital literacy.

The company said the Women in Technology (WITH) programme is part of the firm’s deliberate efforts to help women of all cadres and backgrounds to also pursue careers in technology-related fields through various mentorship programmes. 

WITH aims to empower, connect and support current and future generations of women by providing them with role models, skills, opportunities and support to develop their interest, careers and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Huawei Kenya will streamline its hiring policies to boost female participation in top leadership across the firm’s departments.

Huawei Technologies Kenya CEO Stone said the company has taken up the challenge to increase women participation in decision making as well as management through hiring and training of more female IT professionals.

“To boost women in technology requires giving them more opportunities to do so. However, we are not doing so well. That is why we have come up with the Women in Technology Huawei (WITH) programme,” he said.

Maureen Mwaniki, the Organizer of WITH and a Q&EHS Manager at Huawei technologies in the Country said: “Currently, the share of women in tech at Huawei Kenya stands at 25 per cent, but we seek to take it to 40 per cent in the next few years.

Mentoring Africa Founder and Director Esther Muchiri said more resources should be channelled towards women’s mentorship. “Other than not believing in themselves, most women do not believe in each other. This needs to change,” she said.

Key targets include doubling the number of young girls that would be mentored and trained through CSR programmes; seeking to promote one third of women employees and train one half of women employees in 2019; increasing from 10 percent to 15 percent the proportion of lecturers trained that are female and increase by 10 percent the female students trained.

Further commitments were made to support at least seven customers and partners with their women in technology initiatives and to increase procurement spend with women-owned suppliers.

Huawei hopes to directly impact over 4,000 girls and women over the next twelve months.