Edna Karijo is a young leader advocating for digital literacy for youth in Kenya. She is the Digital Skills Program Manager at eMobilis Mobile Technology Institute where she leads a team of 26 to deliver training programs to youth and entrepreneurs for the Google Digital Skills for Africa initiative. She is a Mentor with the Presidential Digital Talent Program and a Co-founder of two start-ups Msajili Mobile and We Shape. She is also an Alumna of the Young African Leadership Initiative RLC East Africa. Edna is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy and Management at Strathmore University with an interest in improving the impact of innovation, technology and digital livelihoods.
She has been involved with youth-targeted programs for the past 10 years, mostly through volunteering and taking on leadership roles. In 2016, she joined the pioneer cohort of trainers for the Google Digital Skills Program in Kenya to train young people on digital skills to grow their careers and businesses. Because of her passion for digital and youth initiatives, she left her full-time employment in a business firm to kickstart her digital career. Her success story was featured on Business Daily Africa Column in ‘Africa Transformation Lies in the Digital Revolution‘.
Why did you get into STEM?
The opportunity to explore the benefits of the internet and digital as well as a strong interest to play an active role in using technology to solve real-life problems and transform lives especially for young people. My first leap was from traditional marketing into digital marketing when it was just catching on.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Taking on a leadership role within the Digital Skills Program that is impacting young people and being selected into the Young African Leadership Initiative regional fellowship (business and entrepreneurship track) in June 2018. In addition, volunteer experiences with youth organizations like the Magis Ignatian Program and the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability (CYNESA), have also been very fulfilling and helped me serve while discovering unique talents and skills. I have been privileged through these volunteering experiences to participate in international youth events here in Africa, Europe, Australia and South America. They made me learn how to serve, lead and give more to my community as a young person.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Coming from a Business-professional background and having a strong interest in the internet and digital, I needed to make a shift which demanded initial self-taught skills, a lot of learning and hard work. I am glad to be part of the tech ecosystem in Kenya; I always look up to the women and men who are at the forefront of leveraging ICT in transforming livelihoods especially for young people.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
‘The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today’ ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
- Stay Focused:
‘A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what other employees can’t’. ~ Jack Ma.
- Don’t Give Up:
‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been’ ~ George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans).