Ruth Kaveke is a Co-founder and Executive Director of Pwani Teknowgalz in Mombasa, a non-profit organization working to bridge the gender gap of women in technology. As a passionate website developer, she loves inspiring more girls to venture into STEM through the Technovation Challenge, a global challenge that encourages girls all over the world to solve community problems by creating dedicated mobile applications. Ruth is also actively involved in STEM projects in Mombasa, such as ‘Mombasa Girls in STEM’. Ruth was featured by The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in one of their #eskills4girls videos. Ruth is currently working to establish the first Girl Technology Hub in Mombasa with the goal to empower girls from underprivileged backgrounds with computer programming skills. She is a TechWomen 2017 emerging leader, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Why did you get into STEM?
I have been passionate about computers since high school. In the university, I was shocked by the low percentages of ladies in technology. This challenged me to remain in technology to inspire more ladies to join STEM. Also, there is a low representation of women in STEM globally plus I have always wanted to be a role model to young girls to show them that ladies can as well be in STEM and do well in the field.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
My greatest achievement has been starting the organisation “Pwani Teknowgalz” together with other passionate ladies to train girls in STEM in Mombasa, Kenya. Many ladies have benefited from the organisation. For example, some ladies are able to earn money by creating websites while some of the ladies I have mentored are able to pass on the skills to other girls who are also passionate about technology.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Once, while working as an intern, my supervisor doubted my website development skills. I overcame this challenge by confidently assuring my supervisor that I would prove my skills. At the end of the internship, I had done an awesome job with the client projects that I was working on. I have also experienced the challenge of having to encourage girls in high school to get involved in technology programs such as Technovation. At some point, some group of girls had planned to dropout of the technology program I was involved in as the lead coach, and it took me a few days to convince them about the benefit of embracing technology and what other girls of their age had achieved which assisted in having them back.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
STEM is an awesome field with great women creating amazing products. These are the women you should look up to as mentors. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them; they are always ready to assist. Reach out to me if you need technology mentorship on twitter @kavekeruth.
Read more about Pwani Teknowgalz here: