It may have started like a simple challenge asking women software developers to stand and be counted. It was a way of recognizing that women are still in the softer factions of technology and those doing hardcore stuff were not seen in the mainstream.
There is no doubt that when this challenge was posed to Judith Owigar at the last Ushahidi meeting; she obliged and marshaled the troops. So you can imagine the look of excitement on the faces of Ken, Emmanuel and I when four women appeared at Dormans. The only confirmation we had that they were at the venue for Ushahidi matters was because Judith was with them.
Judith noticed the excitement and proclaimed “I am good at recruitment!” and who are we to disagree?
Linda Kamau, Caroline Njeri and Marie Githinji are experts in PHP and were at the meeting to learn more about Ushahidi, how the team works and if they had questions on coding, the gurus were there.
The beauty about Ushahidi meet ups is that you don’t have to be a volunteer, you can come and share, exchange ideas and get marveled by the awesome work the devs are doing. Provided you keep out some of the rubbish politics some Kenyan devs are known to have.
So, Emmanuel took the chance to explain to the Chix how he is doing with the frontline SMS, the tweaks, and what the future will look like.
For the team, it was a good day for the rise of Ushahidi Chix, and there is no indication that it is going to stop there. The idea is to get more and more women into the more techie stuff.
This maybe debatable but a blog post by Miquel on Maneno demonstrated the depths of the challenge. The cartoon accompanying the blogpost left Ken and I amused.
Ken also took the time to explain more about Ushahidi platform, the technical side of things.
Ushahidi Chix may have been the highlight of the meeting but it was certainly not all. Chris Hutchins and Amy Fox, developers from the US, were attending the meeting, and there were benefits too. We all exchanged software and you could ask any question to whoever could answer and get collaborative answers.