Empowering female engineers while bridging the digital divide

Nayiga Florence (Engineering Fellow) wiring the lights in the Hello Hub

“It's astonishing how I've acquired electrical skills coming from an automotive background,” says Ms Evelyn Nambi whose expertise before acquiring this new skill was mostly in mechanical machines. 

She continues: “However, now I am confident that I can handle tasks such as changing a switch at my own home, connecting a socket and even installing a lamp holder. Moreover, I've gained insights into civil works, understanding the quantities of cement and the number of wheelbarrows required. This journey has been truly amazing."
This event marked the conclusion of the second Engineering Fellowship Cohort at Hello World after their recent completion of the Hello Hub builds in the West Nile region. 

A Hello Hub is a solar-paneled structure or kiosk, recognized with an MIT award, and equipped with Wi-Fi, charging ports and accessible tablet screens. Building a Hello Hub takes five days, with an incredible contribution from the community and partners like abrdn and Andan, to name just a few. 

Dave Mugerwa, the Lead Engineer at Hello World, shared with us, "Our Engineering Fellowship is meticulously crafted to empower female graduates with the essential skills necessary to excel in today's competitive job market. Drawing from our extensive experience in hiring engineers, we identified a significant gap and realized that this program holds the key to bridging it.

Over the course of each six-month fellowship, we have witnessed truly remarkable transformations in our female graduates. They arrived without prior experience but departed armed with the skills and knowledge to tackle dynamic and intricate engineering projects. 
This journey was not devoid of challenges, including the need to dispel deeply ingrained societal misconceptions and cope with limited resources.

 Nevertheless, every obstacle we overcame served as a testament to our unwavering commitment. The true potential of this fellowship lies in its ripple effect, as it not only inspires individual engineers but also entire generations of learners and communities to envision and pursue a future free from the constraints of traditional gender roles within the engineering sector."

Hello Hubs play a vital role in enabling the most remote communities to bridge the digital divide meaningfully. They provide unlimited, free access to tablets loaded with educational software, internet connectivity and the means to connect with the wider world. “At Hello World we work with communities to close the digital divide and we engage women and girls in every stage of the engineering, decision making and community management of their Hubs. This means that women and girls can access the world's body of knowledge, educate themselves, advocate for their rights, tell their stories and stay in touch with family and friends. We are training a generation of female engineers, and tech-savvy learners who will teach us how to use technology to further the struggle for social justice.” says Katrin McMillan, the Founder and CEO of Hello World.   
Recently, the team embarked on new builds in the Eastern region, with two female engineers joining the third cohort. Florence Nayiga expressed her enthusiasm, saying, "I look forward to inspiring parents to encourage their children to aspire to be engineers like me while in Iganga during these two weeks of Hub builds." 

She made the comment as they prepared the equipment they would be using.

This initiative not only empowers female engineers but also strengthens Hello World's mission to create a world where every community, regardless of how remote, can access the benefits of digital connectivity and education. With the unwavering support of partners like abrdn and Andan, Hello World continues to make a positive impact on communities and promote gender diversity in engineering.

This coincides with a moment when World leaders will conduct a comprehensive review of the progress of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the SDG Summit on September 18-19, 2023, held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This summit occurs during the high-level week of the General Assembly, where leaders will address the collective impact of various interconnected crises that the world is currently facing. They will also offer high-level political direction for transformative and expedited actions aimed at achieving the SDG targets by the year 2030.