Irine Misoi: I’m great­ly hon­ored to be in your midst. I will receive the award on behalf of Dorcas Muthoni, who could not be here with us. She just had a small baby about a month ago. So, a lilac-cheeks mem­ber added to the com­mu­ni­ty. I’ll read a small speech from her.

Dear ladies and gen­tle­men, I’m great­ly hon­ored with this award. I’m real­ly excit­ed that I won it and want to thank you for sup­port­ing me and trust­ing my pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­ties. Your sup­port means a lot to me. It is a recog­ni­tion of my hard work dur­ing more than twen­ty years. Today, I’m an entre­pre­neur and a men­tor, and I believe that I have fol­lowed my vocation. 

Since my ear­ly years, I was sure that infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy would real­ly bring the world togeth­er through the Internet. My sto­ry of suc­cess start­ed many years back when I start­ed by help­ing build net­works for uni­ver­si­ties, being among the first women engi­neers to work with the Kenya Educational Network, which is the [?] for Kenyan insti­tu­tions of high­er learn­ing, which has grown over the years. And lat­er start­ed up an open-source com­pa­ny called OPENWORLD That devel­ops open-source soft­ware for e‑governments. And in 2004 found­ed an orga­ni­za­tion called AfChix Africa, a tech­ni­cal capacity-building ini­tia­tive for women in the region.

For about five years in Kenya and across oth­er African coun­tries, AfChix activ­i­ties have includ­ed orga­niz­ing annu­al com­put­ing career con­fer­ences with a spe­cial empha­sis on encour­ag­ing the uptake of com­put­ing careers amongst young women and high school girls. This is one of my great­est pas­sions. We have trained many women in Linux sys­tem admin­is­tra­tion from many African coun­tries that have a AfChix chap­ters, who in turn have become train­ers and trained oth­er women in their countries.

We start­ed a men­tor­ship pro­gram, a career work­shop for girls in high school. This involved bring­ing togeth­er girls from sec­ondary schools all over the coun­try in Kenya. And invit­ed women engi­neers, pro­gram­mers, web devel­op­ers, to men­tor the girls in what it takes to get into the var­i­ous careers in com­put­ing. And we have done this for the last ten years. And this has real­ly had an impact, and we can see this when we walk along the cor­ri­dors of the uni­ver­si­ties that we work with. A girl walks towards me and says, Thank you for help­ing me make up my mind into doing com­put­er sci­ence. I attend­ed one of the career work­shops that you organized.” 

And this gives me great joy, to see many great women engi­neers from var­i­ous dis­ci­plines. This gives me great joy. Thanks to the many great women engi­neers from the var­i­ous chap­ters of AfChix Africa. Thanks to our great spon­sors like Internet Society, who have spon­sored the var­i­ous train­ings all over Africa. Thanks to Steve Huter from Network Startup Resource Center for the con­stant sup­port in this. Though we all deal in dif­fer­ent fields, we have some­thing in com­mon. It is striv­ing for bet­ter. And I’m glad I can say this: It is a great hon­or to be induct­ed into the Hall of Fame in the cat­e­go­ry of Global Connectors. Thank you.