Miss.Africa Digital Program spoke to Mrs. Setsoto Hlohlomi, Founder and President: BasaliTech, a Lesotho, one of the winners of the 2019 Miss.Africa Digital Seed Fund about their experiences while training women and girls who benefited from the initiative. Here is our conversation.
1. Highlight your general experience with the Miss.Africa Digital Seed Funding
I had an amazing experience with the MissDotAfrica seed funding. It was an absolute honor being selected as winners among the numerous applicants that are making an impact. I loved how the team was clear in their requirements, maintained constant communication and were timely in their execution and providing the funding. They let you take the lead and entrust you to drive this mission, letting you execute at your best while they are available to offer advice. Their reporting structure is also detailed and well thought out.
2. What moment(s) were most challenging through the training
The most challenging moment was the girls with little computer knowledge and making them part of a team that is sufficiently skilled to ensure they can learn from the others while not becoming a setback to the progress of the team as well. The girls did well, as individuals and as part of their teams – we are more than proud of them. Making exercises engaging enough for everyone to feel like a valuable part of the team was also challenging but considering how effective the teams were, we handled these challenges well.
3. How did the Miss.Africa Digital Seed Fund enhance BasaliTech Lesotho’s initiatives and activities of supporting girls in STEM?
Where do I even begin? The funding not only allowed us to host the December 2019 Code Diva’s camp (a free 5-day camp to train 14 girls in Website development including a closing motivational address from one of our very prominent ladies in the technology sector) with meals provided, but we were able to use some of the funds to obtain equipment necessary to setup our new training hub. The fund will therefore contribute to all future initiatives that will be hosted at this hub.
4. Give us a successful instance at BasaliTech Lesotho when the Women in STEM flag was flown high.
The BasaliTech flag is flown high every time we host an event to encourage young girls and children to take part in Science and Technology as we prepare future generations to thrive in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. It was however flown highest when we won the MissDotAfrica seed funding gaining international recognition for the work that we do. And we hope to carry this flag higher as we continue to work on increasing the profile of young girls and women in STEM through training and mentorship.
5. Outline your take on the future of women technology in Africa/Globally? And a message to other girls who would want to venture into ICT Careers.
Although attaining the desired percentage of women and girls effectively partaking in Science and Technology activities still has a long way to go, with current efforts to pursue this from female and male champions, the future is looking bright. And if we persist to encourage young women and girls to take part in such activities (if this is where their passion truly lies), we eliminate them feeling out of place because of the current male dominance and we will eventually strike a balance while benefiting from the intellect and contributions they will bring to the table.
To young girls out there who wish to venture into ICT, just know that if this is your dream, then you can achieve it with hard work and dedication. Seek a mentor who will provide guidance and clarity when you need it, it comes very handy.
Setsoto Hlohlomi, Founder and President : BasaliTech
BasaliTech PTY is a Lesotho registered nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable opportunities for women and children interested in learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), from relevant applications and gadgets to software development, electronics and robotics, through in-person classes, workshops, seminars and community support. This is to protect their futures by introducing them to a growing field in the market and to address the gender gap in STEM