The Jjiguene Tech Hub in Senegal was created by a group of tech-savvy female entrepreneurs, who are using it to teach other women how to thrive in the technology industry.
The Jjiguene Tech Hub was created with the purpose of trying to boost the number of women in Senegal’s information technology (IT) business. Jjiguene means “woman” in Wolof, which is the most commonly spoken language in Senegal.
According to the BBC, less than 30 percent of women have jobs in the IT industry and the number of women in the tech field in Africa is well below the global average.
Organizations and companies such as the Jjiguene Tech Hub, however, could be on the fast track to change that.
“We want to be a role model for girls and girl women in tech,” said 26-year-old Awa Caba, one of the co-founders who is also a specialist app designer.
Some women at the hub are there to work on their own entrepreneurial efforts, while others are student working to enhance their knowledge of the tech world.
Kate Manon Sio, 18, is one of the youngest students at the hub.
The BBC reported that Sio was originally going to study languages or some form of communications, but her interest in the tech world may have changed her plans.
“Initially I wasn’t excited about it, but I changed my mind because I realized that technology is very, very interesting, particularly for girls,” she told the BBC.
These are the types of revelations that young women in Africa may never have without the help of resources like the Jjiguene Tech Hub.
In addition to teaching women about technology, the hub also focuses on building confidence in the young women
“Here at the hub they have really pushed me,” Aminata Balde, a 22-year-old telecommunications student, told the BBC. “I learned how to be confident as a girl. [Before] I was always afraid to express myself or to handle stuff.”
At the hub the majority of young women are in their 20s, working tirelessly to become tech savvy moguls, but there is not a strict “no boys allowed” policy.
A few men have been a large part of the hub’s success by working with the group of all- female co-founders.
Ismayla Ba owns the IT company Oasis Media Group, and he has provided financial support for the women’s tech hub.
“I wanted to support these young women and their project,” Ba said. “It’s important. And why not work together?”
The 58-year-old entrepreneur shares office space with the woman at the hub.
Ba said he believes women are “more serious and rigorous” workers than men are, in “many domains, not just in technology.”
The center, which is located in a middle-class suburb of the country’s capital city Dakar, has seen a rather swift growth over the past two years.
What started out as only four women attending on a regular basis has now grown to 65.