Google Launches Female-Focused African Initiative To Empower Women

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

Google has announced the launch of 18 new Womenwill chapters across sub-Saharan Africa, boosting efforts that have already seen the tech giant training around 1.5 million women across the continent.

There are already seven Womenwill chapters in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Benin. The new launch brings the total to 25 across the continent, according to Ventureburn.

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Womenwill chapters in sub-Saharan Africa aim to create economic opportunity for women through training, events and advocacy.

These efforts empower women by using technology to build skills and provide networking opportunities where women can connect with each other, while driving conversations promoting gender equality, according to Google.

South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya launched their programs simultaneously with events in cities there, Nigeriacommunicationsweek reports.

The new Womenwill chapters are a first for Google in South Africa, with four now located in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Polokwane and Pretoria.

empower women
Google has trained over three million Africans since 2016. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Google has been an advocate for gender equality and skills training for women in Africa since launching a local presence in 2016.

The company’s digital skills training has been offered in 29 African countries with more than 3 million people receiving training, of which 48 percent were women, according to IOL.

Chapter leaders have been selected to work with volunteers in implementing skills development projects to be held in their local community centers.

The centers will be equipped with computers, infrastructure, internet access and other technologies, ITWeb reports.

Google’s efforts to empower women and the youth

In September 2017, Google launched a mentorship program focused on supporting African tech entrepreneurs with a new Google Launchpad space in Nigeria.

Google Developers Launchpad Africa in Lagos is a mentorship program that aims to provide tech startups with tools to build sustainable businesses, according to IOL.

Google Launchpad Nigeria was the first onsite location for the program outside of the U.S.

In June 2018, Google announced that it would be establishing an artificial intelligence research center in Accra, Ghana — a first for the company on the continent, according to Quartz.

Expert machine learning researchers and engineers will work together at the new AI research center in Accra which is dedicated to artificial intelligence research and its applications in a wider African context.

The research center will focus on using artificial intelligence applications in areas that include healthcare, agriculture and education.

Also in 2018, U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google partnered with The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) to offer a master’s degree in artificial intelligence, according to ITNewsAfrica.

The one-year African master’s in machine intelligence is available at the AIMS-Rwanda campus in Kigali, and is focused on empowering students and young entrepreneurs with digital skills.

The Cape Town-based institute has six centers in Africa including South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

For the moment, the artificial intelligence course will only be available in Rwanda, as a result of the institute’s partnership with Google and Facebook.