By Kate Sem-Ackah
For a very long time, Girls have been made to believe that the fields of science innovation and technology are only reserved for boys and that its ok for boys and men to dominate the world of technology. This situation has challenged Regina Agyare, an Ashesi University alumna and a fellow at the Aspen Institute, to change the status quo. Her motivation was born from watching a scene with a rocket launch on television. This singular scene ignited a passion to be the first African woman to launch a rocket into space! She therefore decided to study Computer Science, graduating first in her class at Ashesi University in Ghana.
"Ghanaian women and girls are lagging behind in developing IT skills" -Regina Agyare
From being Employed to Being an Employer
After university, Regina worked in various institutions in Ghana including Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank as Product Manager for E-business, and Management and Information Systems Supervisor respectively. Driven by her passion for technology and unfulfilled by her behind-the-desk job, Regina set out to spearhead Ghanaian women’s involvement in technology leadership. In March 2012, after six years in the banking/technology industry, she started Soronko Solutions, a software development and social enterprise startup that works across different channels; web, mobile, POS and ATM to solve problems.
In Akan dialect, Soronko means ‘different’ and the company is doing just that, standing out in providing quality services to its clients. The company sees its purpose as that of creating and managing enterprises that apply technology to promote social development. Sonkoro has developed an app for the deaf , "the signing monkey".
UN/ITU Tech Needs Girls
Regina founded Tech Needs Girls in Ghana, a program that mentors girls to lead and innovate by learning to code and invent using technology. Tech Needs Girls is a global initiative at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which ensures that more girls take an interest in technology. According to Sonkoro records from 2014, the program has enrolled 205 girls, and 15 mentors who are either computer scientists or engineers. Enrolment into TNG is open to girls from all walks of life as the trainings are usually mobile which maximises on the number of girls who can access the program. It is the wish of Soronko Solutions that girls get to enrol into university instead of being forced into early marriage.
Regina and her work with Sonkoro Solutions has also been featured on CNN African Start-Ups.
Kate Sem-Ackah is passionate about matters of the youth in her country and takes every opportunity to be a voice for them. With a Diploma in Basic Education she has taught for a while, before pursuing a Bachelor of Arts programme in Communication Studies. She has written a book: 'Break of Dawn' , that celebrates the struggles and hopes of the youth. She also currently writes serial features for publication and online articles