Shine The Light: How One Rwandan Woman Is Helping Girls Know They CAN Rule The World Thumbnail
Women in Tech 6 June 2016

Shine The Light: How One Rwandan Woman Is Helping Girls Know They CAN Rule The World

By Evelyn NamaraFormer Manager, Community Engagement and Special Interest Groups

We want to boost the profile of connected women everywhere. As part of our Shine The Light campaign we’ve launched a new blogging series where we are inviting you to profile women working with the Internet.  Want to profile someone you think is amazing? Tweet us using the tag #ShineTheLight and let us know who she is!

While I’m the first person to contribute to our expanded Shine The Light blogging series, it didn’t take me long to figure out who I wanted to celebrate.

I want to Shine The Light on my dear friend Lucy Mbabazi. 

I met Lucy online. On Twitter, actually.  I think it was a mutual love for tech.  She was tweeting a lot about tech and communication technologies in Rwanda, and I do the same. It didn’t take long before we starting chatting together about common challenges and problems

And before I talk about why her work in technology is so important, I think I should start by giving a bit of Lucy’s history.

Lucy’s mother, a Rwandan Tutsi, grew up in a refugee camp in after fleeing across the border to escape Hutu majority. 

Following the war, her mother started a basket weaving group that brought together widows of both Tutsi and Hutu soldiers. Somehow Macy’s department store found out about the programme and began selling the baskets – which helped so many women and managed to fund Lucy’s schooling in the United States. 

She became a Harvard graduate.

Today Lucy is back in Rwanda and is working with girls in her country to learn about technology. She set up an initiative called Girls in ICT Rwanda.

Ms. Geek Rwanda is a competition designed to inspire Rwandan girls to be part of problem-solving for the country using technology and encourage them to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The competition aims to expand the girls’ innovation and critical thinking skills.

The first lady of Rwanda even spoke about it!

One of the things I admire most about Lucy is her dedication and passion. I mean, in January 2015 she decided that, by June, she was going to run a marathon. I don’t think she had ever run that much before. She posted her progress on Twitter. In June she did it. She ran the whole 42km. THAT is what I call drive

She is also so passionate about causes.  I’ve never seen anyone as dedicated to opening more doors and carrying out such extensive mentorship with girls in ICT. She is always working on reaching out to more girls who aren’t connected and to help them know they can still have a career in this field and be who they want to be.

So many times the world teaches women they need to be competitive with each other or be jealous of one another. It has never been like that with us. We always – always – celebrate each other’s success. We always appreciate each other. 

It’s a wonderful relationship.

Follow Evelyn and Lucy on Twitter to keep up with more of their amazing work.  

Evelyn Namara is a technologist and social entrepreneur, who has a passion of working with women and girls in technology and entrepreneurship. Her passion with working in tech lead to her current role as Chief Technology Officer of a technology start-up called !nnovate Uganda. We are proud to say she was also a 2015 Internet Society ambassador to the Internet Governance Forum.

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

Related articles

Women in Tech 8 March 2024

The Women Behind the Internet

In a field that often lacks gender balance, it’s vital to highlight women's fundamental role in the Internet’s past,...

Shaping Future of the Internet 22 February 2024

Bridging the Unemployment Gap for Young Female Graduates

Women in Mali are bridging the unemployment gap by learning practical skills in Internet Society hands-on training courses.

About Internet Society 27 May 2021

African Women to Drive Digitalization and Transformation: AfChix and Internet Society Renew Partnership

In the renewed agreement, AfChix and the Internet Society commit to continue supporting African girls and women to access...