Empowering Women in Tech.
Queen Mtega, Tanzania
What is your project/organization you are working on/with?
FundiPopote. I noticed a description in my society which is: “We all have something that no longer works, that we still need. People choose to throw it out and buy a new one, some stick it in the garage or a storage place, and few pay for it to be fixed.” Through such a mentality, it leads to a problem that I discovered. People in my community prefer to replace a faulty household or electronic item instead of repairing it and this option increases the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
And I came up with a digital solution called FundiPopote. FundiPopote is a web and mobile-based platform which works to provide a connection between experts and professional workers who work as fixers of faulty items be it in the car, house, or office with clients. I am a founder of FundiPopote, I work for it to become a better solution in my society by targeting 8th and 13th SDG goals and that happens to be my passion and biggest support.
What was your Inspiration?
My inspiration was to have something of my own, lead in a perfect way despite being a leader and a tech-prenuer at a very young age. Coming from a society where women have been underrepresented and underprepared in leadership/economic, it gave me motivation and the spirit of working harder and it gave me the aspiration of: “I am going to disrupt such status quo.”
Making or reaching my inspiration state made me realise that anything is possible yet it’s a matter of self-motivation. From my startup currently, I am inspired in helping people by giving them the motivation that anything is possible despite the barriers present within their lives.
I also want to encourage and empower more females with the knowledge of fixing different items where they can be able to chip in with FundiPopote (empowering them is by adding them with knowledge from experts and institutions and make them stable and confidence in fixing sectors).
What challenges have you faced?
As a young and female leader, gender imbalance has been my biggest challenge because of society’s status quo toward females being underestimated; my age is also another challenge that I face as well as capital. It was hard for me to get my seed capital to start the project so I had to use extra effort such as learning how to code so that I can make my own website without paying anyone. I had to walk alone on the streets without paying anyone for collecting data of the fixers and I had to apply for different grants so I could get seed funding where I am still waiting for results and some have not worked yet because my startup is at a very young stage and has no team (it was also another challenge to get passionate people to the project like I am).
What you have found to be your best resources?
My mentors: Madam Carolyne Ekyarisiima (Founder at apps and girls) and Wilhelm Oddo (Founder and Director of Nlab Innovation Academy) have been my best resources, for their commitment to mentoring me to reach my goals, the time they gave me, and even the path they showed me on how to never give up despite how hard the situation is. They also taught me to work harder and be independent.
Shamsa Suleiman is among my best resources too because she taught me how to be myself and have a systematic plan (I believe that’s how a leader should be). Also, she inherited that feminism spirit that made me become more interested in helping females too for gender balance.
International Connector too was my best resource, it gave me exposure on how to handle even the far distance managements and it kept on reminding me that communication, networking, and exposure are possible despite the distance and that they can be done online.
What advice do you have for your peers?
They should never give up and they should always be innovative because the world is changing and the theme is “survival for the innovative (the fittest)”.
What are your other projects?
For I am a gender balance addicted, I am starting a project together with my Co-Founder, Geraldine Munseri, called “Her Software Systems”. It is a project that is going to empower women in the IT sector where women are going to make and sell websites and applications for customers in need and get paid. It's going to be a hub where for a woman to join where they will have to pay the membership fee per month and get paid with every work they will be doing in the hub.