When Joan Ngatia and I learnt that a Django Girls workshop was being organised in Mombasa, we were beyond excited! Having organised the Nairobi edition, we were glad that it was spreading across Kenya and we were happy to help. We reached out to the organisers, Ruth Kaveke and Aisha Abdulkadir, about the possibility of us heading down to the Coast to volunteer as coaches. Luckily, they were just as enthusiastic as we were. And even better, Andela was happy to pay for our transport and accommodation to attend the workshop. And so, on Thursday night, Joan and I got on a bus to Mombasa, and the journey began.

Django Girls Mombasa was held at SwahiliPot Hub, Mombasa’s innovation hub for techies and artists. That’s what’s unique about SwahiliPot, by the way: the way it brings techies and artists together, and provides a space where both can learn from each other and flourish. Artists (musicians, painters, spoken word artists, poets) get to leverage on techies’ digital literacy and programming skills to give their art a digital platform. And the techies get to share their apps and products with the artists and harness the artists’ creativity and non-techie perspective. I think it’s a great concept!

Participants posing outside the venue, SwahiliPot Hub, after the workshop

Posing with the SwahiliPot Hub Instagram cut-out during the installation party

Ruth and Aisha, the Django Girls Mombasa organisers, are part of Pwani Teknowgals, a community-based organization driven by passion to inspire the next generation of girls in Mombasa to venture into STEM careers. They welcomed us warmly on Friday afternoon for the Django Girls installation party, and we spent a few hours discussing our efforts in promoting women in technology both in Nairobi and Mombasa. It was a refreshing discussion, and it was interesting to note that we shared the same experiences even in different cities.

The female coaches pose at the installation party. Left to right: Ruth Kaveke, Joan Nabusoba, Joan Ngatia, Mbithe Nzomo, and Aisha Abdulkadir

All in all, Django Girls Mombasa was a resounding success. 40 ladies, most of whom had never programmed before, from as far off as Kisumu and Eldoret, all came together united by their desire to be software developers. See more photos of the workshop on the Django Girls Mombasa Facebook page as well as the SwahiliPot Facebook page. Congratulations to Ruth and Aisha for organising such a successful event, and many thanks to them for allowing us to be part of it.

Some of the coaches with some TechWomen alumni from Kenya and Nigeria

Joan Ngatia coaching her team during the workshop

Coaching my team during the installation party

The award ceremony, where participants, coaches, and sponsors got certificates of recognition and appreciation