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Melemo breaks the glass ceiling in Rwanda

TSHEGETSANG TEBELELO
Breaking the mould: Melemo is working at UNICEF Rwanda
Some years back, it used to be almost rare to find women holding positions in the tech industry but trailblazers like Tlamelo Cindy Melemo are changing that.

Melemo has found her place in a market that used to be male dominated. The 26-year-old from Mahalapye is currently working as a Technology Development Officer for UNICEF Rwanda.

Melemo is a graduate from the University of Sunderland in the United Kingdom where she attained a BSc (Hons) in applied Business Computing. She has her own company that specialises in software, web, and phone application development.

She is also the founder and chairperson of a tech organisation called WoTech (Women in Technology). Melemo explains that WoTech was conceived when she was still a student at Botswana Accountancy College. The organisation was a response to the domination of males in the local the industry.

“The main aim of WoTech is to bridge the gender parity within technology industry,” she says.

“We want to encourage girls and women to play active role in technology and be pioneers in the technology industry.”

According to Melemo, the WoTech is all about empowering and encouraging women to fill up positions in the tech industry.

“We reach out to young girls through school visits where we provide mentoring and make sure that through our outreach, girls and women have other women to look up to in the tech industry and see as their role models.” When Melemo broke into the industry years ago, it was well dominated by men. One of

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the challenges faced and which endures to today, is the stereotype that women cannot perform in certain roles in the technology environment.

“There is also a lack of appraising or shining a light on women in the technology field, which creates a challenge to young girls as they do not have role models/mentors to look to in pursuing a career in the technology industry,” she says.

She calls on Batswana to show support to Wotech through various ways such as volunteering to lead mentorship sessions or attending any of the organisation’s events.

Her own career has been full of highlights. Melemo participated in the NoCode Conference, which was held in United States and focussed on adopting NoCode in today’s environment.

She also participated twice in the Women and Girls in Tech in Africa event, which was held in Ghana. The summit is held to highlight challenges faced by females in the industry and how they can be addressed.

The importance of supporting local tech development has become pronounced due to the COVID-19 outbreak which has forced innovation around social distancing in retail, health and many others sectors. Local tech innovators have been challenged to take Batswana online for the provision of services and the role of young women in this regard has become even more critical.

*Tebelelo is a regular Mmegi contributor



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