Porcho Marguerite SOGOBA, is a computer engineer. After obtaining her baccalaureate in scientific series, she joined the Faculty of Sciences and Techniques of Bamako, where she studied Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry before specializing in computer science.
She is now the president, founder of MUSODEV (Association for the Promotion of Women through ICT), Director of Hello Digital (a firm specializing in digital communication and website creation) and in charge of Digital Innovations at the Canadian NGO Farm Radio International.
Her courage and thirst for learning to serve her community has enabled her to take part in several seminars, training and conferences in Africa and the United States. We can cite among others:
- Grace Hopper Celebration edition 2019, which is the largest annual conference of women in technology. The theme of the celebration was “We Will change the future of Tech”.
- Rintio Big Data Bootcamp, which is a training course on Artificial Intelligence and Big Data organized by the company Rintio where she was the only woman out of ten learners.
- A Data Science training workshop at the Institute of Mathematics and Physical Science of Dangbo in Benin.
- Africa Code, an awareness bootcamp on emerging technologies for women engaged in digital technology organized by the International Organization of the Francophonie.
She was a speaker at the first edition of Abidjan Women In Tech where she animated the theme; “Breaking down the barriers of the code and becoming the code”. Locally, she hosts conferences and activities related to computer coding and the empowerment of women in technology. She also led the establishment of a Kids Lab on computer programming and robotics in Bamako.
Why did you get in STEMI?
From a very young age, I was fortunate to have access to a computer at home, even if I did not understand anything, I was fascinated by it. Several factors led me to choose computers. I can cite, among others, the cartoon code Iyoko, the character Chloé Obryan of 24H Chrono as well as the magazine planet child. From that moment I started to do research on the profession that I will exercise once I am great, because at the same time that I was fascinated by the computer, I was also fascinated by physics and chemistry.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Being in the field of computer coding, I quickly noticed that women are less represented. So I took the initiative to create a blog called MUSODEV with the aim of bringing to light these few women who dared to venture into this world. It was after two years of existence that I formalized things by creating an association in order to better help women and girls to make a career in ICT.
During this first year of existence as an association, we have trained more than 160 people on career choice opportunities, gender-based violence and job search techniques in the era of social networks. .
Today, we have a seat that allows us to accommodate women and girls. This is the place to accompany them through several types of activities.
Indeed, there are several advantages and opportunities related to the field of ICT. But women and girls are uninterested in ignorance in most cases. So all of our actions are aimed at raising awareness, building capacity, through teaching and learning. These trainings concern several fields and will be given according to the orientation chosen by the learners. This constitutes a means for them and a step towards empowerment because these skills, once acquired, will open the door to decent jobs or self-employment.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Throughout my way, I have met few women who were interested in scientific subjects. So you had to compete with the boys to make room. Each time, more effort had to be made to prove that the rank I occupied was not related to my gender, but to my knowledge. To achieve this result, I had to mentally arm myself and I had the support of my parents who believed in me. I had a dream, and goals to reach.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
Being in the tech world, I can only encourage my sisters to be more interested in it. Today’s world is undergoing an unprecedented digital transformation, and this is felt in almost all areas of activity. This is why most of the so-called “professions of tomorrow” are emerging. Dream big, aim far, start small and don’t let anyone or any circumstance take you away from your goals. Be thirsty to learn, do as much as you can, look for mentors who can support and advise you, don’t be afraid of failure. This is how we can take over and secure the future we want for ourselves and our descendants.