Kobwa (roughly prounounced "kobga") is the Kinyarwandan word for "girl".
The TechKobwa Project aims to empower Rwandan women to play a key role in Rwanda Vision 2020 (.pdf) —their country’s plan to transform an economy dominated by subsistence farming into one driven by information and communications technology.
Toward this end, TechKobwa Camps provide young women with unhindered access to computers in order to develop skills and creativity in using technology and to inspire them to join the next generation of Rwandan technology entrepreneurs. The camps encourage young women to become active citizens by building their self-esteem, confidence, and skills; connect them to successful role models and mentors; and empower them to start computer and media clubs with their ICT teachers upon return to their schools. To ensure long-term impact, the TechKobwa Camps use a training of trainers model—camp organizers first train ICT teachers, who then practice teaching the curriculum during the student camp.
TechKobwa Camps are completely free of charge to participants. Food, lodging, and transportation fees are provided. Students are supervised at all times by Peace Corps Volunteers, Akilah Institute faculty and students, ICT Teachers, and Rwandan facilitators who will help with teaching, translating, and discipline. Camp TechKobwa is an ideal way to offer adolescent girls self-development opportunities in a fun and friendly atmosphere.
Outcomes and Plans
In 5 years, TechKobwa camps have provided more than 300 female students and 50 rural ICT teachers access to computers together with instruction developing their skills, confidence, and creativity using digital technology. Each camp hosts teachers and students from about a dozen secondary schools throughout Rwanda.
The 2017 TechKobwa Camp took place at IPRC West in Kibuye (Karongi District). The teacher training commenced Dec 6 and ran through Dec 10. Summer students arrived on Dec 10 and depart on Dec 15. Organizers are planning two camps in 2018: A summer camp in August and a winter camp in December. Precise dates and location are yet to be determined.
An executive summary of outcomes from TechKobwa 2015 and the vision going forward can be found here. (.pdf)
The full TechKobwa 2015 Evaluation Report can be found here. (.pdf)
The full TechKobwa 2016 Evaluation Report can be found here. (.pdf)
Partnering and Sponsoring
The TechKobwa Project is a partnership between the US Peace Corps, Michigan State University, IBM, the Rwanda Ministry of ICT, CreationHill, and the Akilah Institute for Women. ACM-W and IEEE Computer Society provide additional funding.
New partners and support are needed to offer two yearly TechKobwa Camps. Please consider donating funding, materials, or expertise to help make this plan a reality.
For information about partnering or sponsoring TechKobwa, please send an email to email@example.com.
Elisabeth J. Turner
+250 787 305 955
Note: The contents of this website do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.
Music in the video above, Easy Jam by Kevin MacLeod, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)