Binti Tech, an organization that inspires girls and women in Tanzania and beyond to study and build careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) has been named as a finalist for the 2018 Miss.Africa Seed Fund
Miss.Africa Digital Program recently caught up with Dr. Mboni Kibelloh, Founder & Executive Director. She explains what Binti Tech is all about in the Q&A below.
Can you tell us about this project that has applied for the 2018 Miss.Africa Seed Fund Awards?
Binti Tech’s Literacy Program for Women Entrepreneurs aims to empower female entrepreneurs with information communication and technology (ICT) / digital skills to take their businesses to the next level.
What are some of the challenges you are trying to address with your project?
ICTs can help business operations run more efficiently, expand market share, provide better customer services, and improve vendor relationships among many other benefits. However, rapidly changing ICT landscape, influx of new innovation, infrastructure challenge coinciding with systemic gender inequalities and socio-cultural dynamics of balancing family responsibly with work / business impede women’s ability to interact and leverage on technology. Binti Tech addresses this issue by providing a comprehensive digital training program in conducive environment and time to help women entrepreneurs realize their fullest potential.
How are you bringing innovative approaches to these problems?
Binti Tech’s innovative approach to female empowerment is training the use of mobile devices which have a faster market penetration compared to computers. Our programs teach female entrepreneurs to use resources they already have, or can easily acquire. Training includes: the Internet and information searching strategies, social media for marketing and sales, e-commerce among others. We also provide mentorship program to assist women create their own digital business strategies and portfolio.
How does it feel to gain international recognition for your work?
It feels good to gain international recognition because it means growth from partnership and support for an important cause. It confirms that this initiative is larger than me, and that I’ am just a vehicle for change.
Can you explain why skills for women in tech is so important?
Women make up to 50% of business owners in the country, yet earn less money and have less successful businesses compared to their male counterparts. They are often subjected to dealing with middlemen to source or distribute their products, and often have limited market information, which keeps them at a disadvantage. This is often because, women more than men are tasked with managing multiple societal roles i.e. child bearing, rearing, and breadwinners, and are therefore left with limited time to effectively and efficiently manage businesses. Making sure that women entrepreneurs are equipped to make productive use of such technologies for their business will enhance their personal development, the endeavors of their families and national development as whole.
What in your opinion should be done to address the digital skills gap in Africa?
The following is what needs to be done to address the digital skill gap in Africa:
– Introduce digital literacy from primary schools
– Train teachers on the importance of ICTs
– Establish ICT community centres across the country
– Encourage more private sector initiatives to assist in filling the education gap.
– To continue with the dialogue till it no longer makes headlines.
Dr. Mboni Kibelloh, PhD, Founder & Executive Director Binti Tech.
Prior to the project, Mboni worked in Tanzania for Tanzania Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Telecom players Airtel, Zain, and Tigo; SELFINA micro-finance and in London for Western Consulting. She is an alumnus of Huazhong University of Science and Technology – Wuhan China, where did her PhD research in e-learning, m-learning infused with gender and feminist studies.