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.