Empowering women in the digital technology sector of Kenya

The #euafricathejourney Design Hackathon Kenya tour continued in Kisumu, the capital and business center of Western Kenya. The majority of female participants took on some of the region's most difficult socioeconomic concerns, demonstrating the influence that strong user experience and digital design can have.

Kenya is the third-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of over 47 million people divided among around 120 ethnic groups and 47 administrative areas.

Following our launch of the Design Hackathon Kenya in Nairobi a week earlier, we were excited to explore the country outside the capital.

Our second stop on the road was in Kisumu, the capital and business center of Western Kenya, which is located on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Dunga beach in Kisumu.

Design Hackathon Kisumu took place on Sept 14-17th as a part of Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation and a pre-event to the #euafricathejourney online hackathon programme. 

Kenyan hospitality is well-known throughout the country, despite its diversity. LAKEHUB, a technology and entrepreneurship support organization that connects a community of creatives, techies, and young entrepreneurs while also arranging numerous technology learning and entrepreneurship programs at their hub and throughout the Kisumu region, welcomed us to Kisumu in open arms.

Exploring Kisumu and building partnership between Garage48 and LAKEHUB teams. From the left: Kadri Kõivik - COO of Garage48, Jaanus Sakkis - Garage48 design mentor, William Odenge - business development lead at LAKEHUB.

One of Kenya's significant challenges is a mismatch between education and actual job market needs and gender inequality in access to education, which puts young females at risk.

At Garage48, we strive to include both male and female participants in all of our events. We are thrilled that, in collaboration with LAKEHUB, we raised that bar and welcomed a majority of female participants to the Design Hackathon Kisumu.

These intelligent women are currently pursuing their tech education to work as software engineers and designers in Kenya's technology and entrepreneurship industry.

We can say that the Garage48 Empowering Women series has now expanded to Kenya!

Hackathon participants in Figma design prototyping tool workshop.

The Design Hackathon Kenya is open to ideas from all fields as long as they implement the benefits of user experience and digital design as the key components of the solution.

As a result, we've seen how the people who participate give each hackathon its own unique flavor - the skills and ideas they bring to the table vary by location, establishing a distinct trend for each event.

In Kisumu, most of these courageous females in their twenties and thirties jumped straight ahead into solving critical social issues of crime, gender based violence, mental health, women’s health, and cyber-bullying to bring more love, care and safety to people around them. We gave our best to support the five teams that were formed around the most popular ideas.

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THIBITISHA is a solution that integrates different systems handling gender based violence cases in order to support the cases getting prosecuted.

Team: Vivian Apudo, Jane Awour, Diana Bengo, Marlene Chirchir, Mongina Rhodah, Nelly Madegwa.

SAFE mobile application enables anyone in danger of violence to send out “unsafe” messages with their location to their assigned contacts from family and friends and support their rescue.
Team: Victoria Adhiambo, Keziah Inyele, Sherine, Omondi, Susan Korwa, Caren Okeya, Heyden Ruth.

REBOUND platform connects empty trucks on their way back from a delivery with customers in need of goods delivery.

Team: Lorna Akoth, Betty Jesca, Bravin Lavaza, Volenzo Clara, Gertrude Trudy, Sharon Odek.

CYBER PATROL is the first anti cyber-bullying application in Kenya.

Team: David, Serafine, Priscilla, Tecla, Niver, Bellah.

LOVE GALORE is a web application to support people experiencing mental health issues.

Team: Conslate Koyo, Yesha Patel, Jean Yego, Quinter Ongare, Edna Atieno, Kyendereta C.C.

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Design Hackathon Kisumu participants, mentors and organizers group photo atfter the final.

During a 4-day event that combined workshops in a Garage48 hackathon format, these participants met with design thinking, user experience design, digital design, prototyping tools and pitching principles for the first time. The customized approach, that our design experts and mentors Jaanus Sakkis and Jaanus Jagomägi are implementing in this hackathon series, enabled the attendees to get a first understanding if future as a designer would be something for them.

You can get more local insights to the hackathon by the blog post from Purity Akoth, Communications Manager at LAKEHUB.    

See more about the hackathon via the photo album.

Not just a hackathon

Design Hackathons in Kenya are part of the EU: Africa The Journey 2021 edition, an African-European online hackathon program, which brings together the brightest minds on both continents and helps them create solutions that would boost the continent's digitalisation and solve some of the socioeconomic issues.


The teams that have participated at the design hackathons will get a straight pass to the #euafricathejourney 2021 edition, where they will compete for a 100 000€ prize fund and a chance to continue in the 2-month long acceleration program.
Register now!



Final stop - Mombasa

Our third and final hackathon in the series took us to Mombasa on Sept 28th – Oct 1st, where we got to meet new participants, a local partner’s team and a whole new city and region of Kenya.


Join us on our journey via LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and our webpage!

REGISTER for the EU: Africa the Journey 2021 online hackathon.


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The program is organized in collaboration and with the financing of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Development Cooperation.

The design hackathons are organized in partnership with Pangea Accelerator in Nairobi, Lakehub in Kisumu and Swahilipot Hub in Mombasa.

About the author

kadri tiisvelt

Kadri is the COO of Garage48 with years of experience as a hackathon organizer and community builder. She loves to create and bring together supportive environments for starting entrepreneurs who wish to make their ideas into valuable services and products. 🌸

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