ICT4D meetup focuses on opportunities for women in technology


Zambia’s ICT4D group has shared an event this Wednesday focusing on tech opportunities for women and here’s an overview of what it will be about as shared on their Facebook event page:

While technology has played a role in empowering women around the world, it is still quite often a space that has a reputation of gender inequality. How do women (and men) in Zambia take advantage of opportunities that technology can offer them, in their careers and every day lives? How can technology be a tool to close gaps of gender inequality?

Please come join us for a fascinating panel discussion from women around the world who are working to find solutions to these question everyday and hear your thoughts on the subject. We’ll be meeting at the Bongo Hive, at 1600 followed by a networking session.

Panel Speakers:

How can we use Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) to empower women? Olivia Bell is Programme Manager for Human Network International (HNI) for Zambia and Botswana. Based in Lusaka, Zambia, Olivia is responsible for the 3-2-1 Service, promoting the use of DataWinners among organizations, and creating awareness of HNI and its services. Olivia’s prior work experience includes: working in New York City as Project Coordinator at Help Remedies, Inc., in New Orleans as a Research Assistant at The Fussy Baby Network, and in Zambia as a Monitoring and Evaluation Associate at Plan International, and as a Program Coordinator for The Virtual Doctors Project. Olivia holds a Masters of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from New York University. She will be speaking on the use of SMS and IVR for development purposes from a gender perspective.


How can the emergence of open source technology provide opportunities to women entrepreneurs, and what kinds of skills are needed? Sumana Harihareswara is the founder and Principal of Changeset Consulting, which provides short-term project management services to free and open source software projects. Need to expedite the releases of new versions of software, write developer onboarding and user documentation, triage and respond to bugs, clean out the code review queue, or prioritize tasks for upcoming work? Changeset Consulting lightens the load on your maintainers. She is an open source software contributor (GitHub) and project manager with over a decade of experience in the software industry. Her past leadership in nonprofit, academia, industry, and volunteer organizations earned her an Open Source Citizen Award in 2011. She lives in New York City. She was most recently Senior Technical Writer and Engineering Community Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation. She has also managed projects at Collabora, GNOME, QuestionCopyright.org, Fog Creek Software, Behavior, and Salon.com.From mid-2014 to early 2015, Harihareswara served as a member of the board of directors of the Ada Initiative. She holds an MS in Technology Management from Columbia University and a BA in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and participated in the Recurse Center in 2013 and 2014.


What role can digital financial services/mobile money play in bringing access to financial services and job opportunities for women? Nandini Harihareswara is a Digital Finance Country Technical Specialist, responsible for the implementation of the United Nations Capital Development Fund Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) country strategy in Zambia and Malawi. Partnering with Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ), she is leading a team focused on increasing financial inclusion through digital finance. As an intrapreneur, Nandini has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors and enjoys bringing people from different backgrounds together to craft innovative solutions to development challenges. She was a founding member of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Digital Development Division in 2011 and served as the Strategy & Operations Chief, and Senior Digital Finance Advisor. She also was a founder of the Better than Cash Alliance. She launched the USAID Portfolio Acceleration initiative, an effort to advance USAID’s development objectives in Agriculture, Humanitarian Assistance and Power using Digital Financial Services. Prior to working for the Digital Development team, Nandini worked as an Investment Officer for the USAID Development Credit Authority Office, a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Transportation and the World Bank as well as a boutique consulting firm focused on International Trade in Africa. Nandini has a MBA and Masters in International Trade and Investment Policy from the George Washington University. She also holds a BS in Psychology and a BA in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego. She lives in Lusaka with her husband, and is always looking for good vegetarian food recommendations.


Moderator: Hannah McCarrick is a Second Secretary and Program Officer for ICT for Development (ICT4D) at the Swedish Embassy in Lusaka, where she works to mainstream and work strategically with ICT4D throughout Sweden’s bilateral development cooperation in Zambia spanning sectors of health, agriculture, energy, governance, freedom of expression and human rights. Hannah has previously conducted field research focused on mHealth and ICT, women and entrepreneurship in Tanzania, worked with the Sida headquarters ICT4D team and worked with gender and ICTs on Zanzibar. Hannah holds a BA in Political Science and Development Studies from Uppsala University and a MS in Sustainable Development with a ICT4D specialism from Royal Holloway, University of London.

The event location is BongoHive Technology & Innovation Hub (Plot 16948B, Thabo Mbeki Road, Lusaka, Zambia) and the agenda is:

16:00 – Welcome by, Hannah McCarrick, Second Secretary Program Officer ICT4D, Swedish Embassy
16:05 – Panel Discussion with Guest speakers: Olivia Bell, Sumana Harihareswara and Nandini Harihareswara
16:30 – Begin Q&A
17:00 – Networking session

Mark your calendars!


Tech blogger. Gadget junkie. Life lover. I love eyeliner. Miller runs through my veins.

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