Abie Award Winners, Change Agent

Anne Ikiara

2009 Winner of the Change Agent ABIE Award 

Anne Ikiara is the General Manager of Nairobits Trust, an organization dealing with youth/women empowerment through ICT, where she also serves as a gender and HIV/AIDS focal person. Anne has been with Nairobits for six years. Within this time, hundreds of women/girls from non formal settlements have gained ICT skills that have improved their lives economically, socially, culturally and politically. Most notable is the entry of women/girls from disadvantaged communities to the formal ICT economy.

This hard to reach group would otherwise have no chance of ever having access to ICT/Computing. Through her leadership, the Nairobits concept has grown in Kenya and has been replicated in the non formal settlements of Nairobi with five training and information centers being opened. Through the training and exposure of these girls/women to ICT, lives of other women in their localities have significantly improved and positive ripple effects are being felt in these localities.

To expand the benefits of this successful concept in the developing world, Nairobits is replicating the concept in similar settings such as Addis Ababa, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar by giving African women a significant stake in the ICT arena. To further strengthen the replication and make it possible for a larger number of women to benefit, Anne together with Butterfly Works is setting up an organization called Mamabits to develop content and concepts that utilizes ICT’s for the benefit of a wide range of youth throughout the developing world. Mamabits envisions developing online curricula in entrepreneurship, life skills and creative multimedia skills and ICT concepts that improve lives.

Besides the field of ICT, Anne has made a remarkable contribution in the field of research specific to women. In recognition of this contribution, Anne has won several international research grant awards competitions. Her contribution in poverty alleviation in youth and women in ICT has been recognized by key organizations both in Kenya and abroad. The International Youth Foundation has appointed her into the partner advisory committee representing the African region.

Anne holds a Diploma in HRM, BA social work and MA in Gender and Development studies from University of Nairobi.