Launching first makerspace in the slums of Kampala with Women in Technology Uganda (WITU)
For the last 5 years, Women In Technology Uganda (WITU) has trained and impacted over 3,500 underprivileged young women in Uganda. Most of the women WITU works with have dropped out of school and are dis-empowered from any gainful employment. This makes them vulnerable to social and economic risks. As a result many end up in early marriages, with HIV and other health risks, and not being able to contribute to household decisions. There is an increased number of premature deaths among young women in Uganda. WITU empowers young women by training them in technology, entrepreneurship and leadership skills to enable them to find gainful employment or start their own business.
Over 60% of the population in Uganda is below the age of 30, and 74% of Ugandans between the ages of 15-25 are unemployed. Majority of them are young women who have either dropped out of school or did not acquire quality education due to poverty. Even if they are able to attend school, the education offered by public schools does not offer digital skills education to enable learners to benefit from the global shift towards technological jobs.
WITU’s mission is to support young women and girls to become innovative technologists and entrepreneurs. WITU does this through providing a training institute, a women focused accelerator and incubation hub, and a digital jobs center.
The objective of this project is to help WITU launch Uganda’s first fully fledged open community makerspace for the underserved communities around Kampala and its outskirts.
The goal with the makerspace is to empower through provision of an open community makerspace where young women and girls, youths innovate, support collaborative learning, co-creation and build solutions for their communities. WITU will host classes such as electronics, computer science, engineering, or robotics. Class content will include lessons that involve workshops and hands-on activities and project based. Through the makerspace, they would like to:
- Provide opportunities in entrepreneurialism, expose learners to new skills and technologies and open doors to new career paths, this space will help prepare them for the future and ignite a passion for lifelong learning.
- Provide an after school space for youth from the surrounding slums to be productive and keep them away from destructive activity like drugs, wrong groups/gangs and idleness.
- Improve youth’s learning outcomes at school, including developing critical thinking, logical and deep thinking skills
- Empower students, helping them to shift from being passive consumers of information and products to active creators and innovator.
- Inspire confidence in the learners and show them that failure is a process in life and teach them to think logically, creatively and develop problem solving skills.
- Allow young women who have dropped out of school to use this space to create income generating products and services so they can earn a living.
- Support female entrepreneurs to pursue projects with physical capacity to produce prototype devices that they can turn into income.
- Teach creativity, design and engineering, STEM, these are 21 century skills that will prepare these youth for the future.
- Engage learners in creative, higher-order problem-solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration.
- Encourage cross generational learning through community engagement.
- Empower young people to become agents of change in their communities.
WITU seeks volunteers to teach workshops and develop curriculum in topics such as electronics, computer science, engineering, robotics, design thinking, and prototyping. The Cadence team will be separated into these three respective sub-teams:
Sub-Team 1: STEM teacher training support for after-school enrichment club, focusing on technology/engineering to 3 technical WITU staff and 10 teachers
- Provide workshops on 3D printing
- Provide workshops on LittleBits
- Provide workshops on VR – HTC Vive
Sub-Team 2: Technology and business/finance skills training for entrepreneurs to 6 – 9 WITU staff and 10 teachers
- Provide workshops on business planning, business modelling, marketing, financial literacy and modeling.
- Provide workshops on taking an idea to a business on the market.
Sub-Team 3: Planning and implementation of a new makerspace.
- Conduct research and best practices on how best to design and implement the new makerspace, and help design how the programs will be run at the makerspace.