At Konexio, we prioritize empowering the most vulnerable to find employment through the digital economy. For this reason, all of our programs in Kenya are comprised of 100% female and majority refugee students, who represent groups most excluded from tech opportunities. We hope that the devotion and determination of students like Freedom, Nelly, Nyankor, and Sawia inspire future cohorts of women to join our program and become financially independent!
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and accuracy.
What surprised you most in class?
Freedom: Web scraping was the most surprising, because it allows you to get data from different websites. You can then [collect] it as an Excel document. But it comes with various challenges and surprises that users need to be prepared to address.
Nelly: You will find some sessions are tough and need keen attention, but you will also find that some of the students start tasking right away.
Nyankor: I’m surprised at the supportive community that has been established in such a short period of time. [We’re all] from different communities, but full of hospitality, whereby everyone has the back of each other, so we can see each other succeed. This surprised me, as it is difficult to find people who make you feel welcome in a short period of time.
Sawia: Learning about data scraping, which allows for the extraction of data from websites and social media.
What has been the hardest for you or easiest for you?
Freedom: The easiest for me was web scraping by using the web scraper extension. Bidding for jobs was the hardest for me.
Nelly: Excel has been the hardest up to now, but I am putting more effort so that I can be perfect at it. The easiest so far has been scraping data, so I know I can scrape data that my future clients will want.
Nyankor: The thing that I found easiest has been the teaching style. Everyone learns and follows [the course] closely without falling behind in any way.
Sawia: Time Management has been the hardest for me. The assignments and projects for class combined with other responsibilities can be challenging. So effective time management is important as student. Clear instruction also really facilitates my learning process. If the class materials are well-structured and explained, it makes learning easier.
What is another digital skill you would like to learn?
Freedom: Logo designing, web designing and 3D designs.
Nelly: Web design and video editing.
Nyankor: Coding and digital marketing.
Sawia: The skills that I want to gain are specific to digital skills, like data scraping, mass mailing and responding to job offers.
Do you know each other outside class?
Freedom: Yes, because we have a WhatsApp group and we also have each other’s contacts.
Nelly: Yeah, some of us come from a nearby area and some of us met in class, and we’re now good friends. We visit each other sometimes.
Nyankor: Only a few students, not all.
Sawia: Yes, because we have a WhatsApp group and we also have each other's contacts.
How do you pick which job you are going to apply to?
Freedom: Before I apply for a job, I have to look for what I have the most experience in. Or I just make the choice based on my skills.
Nelly: In the freelance marketplace, many client jobs are posted, so you pick a job which suits you when thinking about your skills and experience.
Nyankor: I choose based on how it makes me feel. For example, if it makes me curious, motivates me to stay at work even when I don't feel like leaving, or makes me eager to start my work day – that's the job I'll choose.
Sawia: I would pick jobs that have to do with data entry and formatting documents, as well as web scraping.
What field are you most interested in pursuing?
Freedom: Data entry, web scraping, and formatting, because that is what I enjoy doing and I have the most experience in.
Nelly: Data scraping and dictation. These types of tasks are easy for me, and I can earn a living from it.
Nyankor: Nursing, eventually.
Sawia: Data entry and web scraping, because that is what I have the most experience and skills in.