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GirlCode appoints advisory board to steer strategic direction

ITWEB / 05 JUNE 2018 - 13.13 / SIBAHLE MALINGA

GirlCode, a non-profit ICT organisation that aims to empower young girls and women through technology, has appointed its first board of advisors, who will provide strategic oversight and guidance to the organisation.

GirlCode was founded by Zandile Keebine in 2014 as an annual women-only hackathon. It has since evolved into a platform that engages with women in tech and facilitates their skills advancement in the industry.

Zandile Keebine, chairwoman and co-founder of GirlCode.

The new advisory council consists of seven executives with a broad range of experience in the ICT industry. They will serve as a critical community champion of GirlCode, assisting in fulfilling its mission by providing the organisation with their professional expertise; their diverse knowledge; and connections to local, national and international resources, says GirlCode.

The team is made up of Charmaine Houvet, public policy director, Africa at Cisco;

Katharina Pillay, MD of the South African Communications Forum; Lebogang Madise, engineering programs coordinator at Microsoft; Linda Swart, senior manager in Entrepreneur Development Department at Standard Bank and founder and organiser of non-profit, TEDxPretoria; Mandisa Ntloko, GM of Enterprise Marketing at MTN Business SA ; Shashi Hansjee, CEO of Entelect; and

Warren Hero, CIO of Webber Wentzel.

Zandile Keebine, chairwoman and co-founder of GirlCode, explains: "Our new board is comprised of highly committed and experienced industry thought leaders, who will give us the guidance and support we need to achieve our vision, and help us create further awareness of our initiatives with corporate South Africa.

"GirlCode is experiencing exciting growth and by accepting these nominations, the advisory board has committed to helping the non-profit organisation through its next phase. The industry insight provided by our new board will help ensure we build the right partnerships and follow the best possible path to provide as many African girls and women with the skills and experience they need to pursue careers in technology," Keebine elaborates.

Charmaine Houvet, Public Policy Director: Africa at Cisco, says: "I've walked an exciting journey with GirlCode providing guidance in the background and watching the organisation grow, and am excited to continue this role in a more formal capacity on their board of advisors. Through collaboration with a broader team of dedicated experts, they'll be able to have greater impact."

The board's strategic advice, according to the organisation, will help ensure GirlCode achieves maximum success for the girls it reaches, as well as ensuring good governance of the organisation as it continues to secure increased funding and support for its initiatives.

GirlCode says its vision is to impact 10 million women across Africa by 2030, starting with getting young girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to become one of the largest female digital organisations.

It aims to achieve this through strategic partnerships with the public sector; strengthening collaboration with similar organisations; and leveraging corporate assets in the development of ICT facilities, infrastructure and networks within schools in disadvantaged communities.

In December, the non-profit organisation launched a Digital Academy and an incubator programme aimed at using tech to empower young girls and women in 2018.

Through the Digital Academy, GirlCode aims to give unemployed women who have had no or little exposure to technology basic computer skills training, as well as CV and interview guidance, over two weeks.

Last month GirlCode partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a nationwide competition that will give 30 SMEs the chance to partake in the six-month AWS CloudStart programme.

The programme provides quick-start guides, videos, virtual training and promotional credits to help small businesses get started on AWS Cloud in an effort to help them alleviate some of the costs associated with starting and running a small business.



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