Continued Impact for Women and Girls In Uganda Through Employee Volunteering

In our latest employee volunteering program, Team4Tech connected a skilled team from Cadence Design Systems with staff from our long-time NGO partner, Women In Technology Uganda (WITU), to empower young women and girls in Kampala through hands-on technology training and career development.

Bridging the Technological Gender Gap

74% of Ugandans between the ages of 15-25 are unemployed. This opportunity gap disproportionally affects women and girls—many young women in Uganda drop out of school due to a lack of funds for tuition, and lack of schooling makes them vulnerable to economic risks. Those who can complete schooling still operate at a disadvantage, since the education offered by public schools rarely offers digital skills education to give learners access to future careers in technological jobs. Further, women and girls have historically not been encouraged to enter into the STEM field. 

WITU’s mission is to empower young women and girls by training them in technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to enable them to find gainful employment or start their own businesses. Over the years, our collaboration with WITU has yielded tremendous positive change. Since our partnership began in 2019, Team4Tech has facilitated employee volunteering opportunities that helped WITU launch the first community-based maker space in Uganda and develop and deliver technology workshops and training in coding and digital design tools. 

Employee Volunteering Expands on Years of Partnership

Recently, Team4Tech facilitated a hybrid strategic project with employee volunteers from  Cadence Design Systems, building on our existing work with WITU.

A team of 10 dedicated Cadence employees from 5 business units across 4 countries collaborated virtually for 10 weeks and on-site in Uganda for 2 intensive weeks. The diverse expertise and perspectives of the Cadence volunteer team were invaluable for bringing WITU’s ideas to life this year.

The volunteers split into three sub-teams:

  • The first sub-team developed the Digital Job Centre, a platform connecting WITU youth to technology jobs. Volunteers and WITU staff worked together to build this platform from the ground up, beginning with idea conception and following through website development and onboarding employers. With this new site, WITU can open new employment pathways for its students and community members.
  • The second sub-team planned and executed a hackathon event for over 80 high school students. The hands-on coding experience sparked interest in STEM careers and collaboration. WITU can now replicate this hackathon experience, impacting thousands more students.
  • The third sub-team built upon foundations from the 2019 Cadence team to grow WITU’s Makerspace with equipment including 3D printers, VR, and Micro:Bits for hands-on learning. New Makerspace projects were launched to provide hands-on training in 3D printing, Micro Bits, and more. Volunteers helped acquire equipment, develop content, and deliver training to over 30 women on 3D printing skills and Micro:Bit electronics, as well as an introduction to virtual reality.

This trip with Cadence has been amazing. I love the value and passion they have instilled in the young girls that we are working with to continue with the program. Some of them have already started thinking about income opportunities for the projects they have learned. With all the work we have been doing the past two weeks, I am looking forward to businesses being created from the makerspace, as it boosts creativity. I am excited about the unemployment gap that we are going to bridge with the WITU Digital Employment site, and I’m looking forward to the young girls taking on STEM-related courses to bridge the technology gap as a result of the school hackathons.”
Leticia Nakitende, Head of Operations, WITU

Building Skills and Bringing Values to Life

Personally, the experience provided a sense of purpose and perspective for all involved. Professionally, the volunteers celebrated that they developed critical leadership skills, engaged with a diverse team, and made a positive impact. The growth of partnerships, technology access, staff skills, and youth opportunities underscore our joint success.

I enjoyed the physical connection with the WITU team and the students. It opened my eyes to the challenges they were facing and allowed me to see the full impact of my contribution.”
Cadence Volunteer

Beyond this project, Cadence has enabled job opportunities for WITU women by creating internships and job opportunities within the company. In 2022, Cadence awarded internships to four WITU students. Since then, these four students have advanced to full-time employment, and Cadence created two additional internship opportunities in late 2023.

I was impressed by these brilliant girls. All they need are some opportunities. Bring them the opportunities, they will amaze you.”
Cadence Volunteer

Team4Tech is proud to help WITU attain their goals of fostering STEM interest and closing Uganda’s technology gender gap. More broadly, we’re proud to facilitate connections between expert employees and other nonprofits like WITU, empowering women worldwide through technology access and education.

This is just one example of Team4Tech’s global contributions to education. Our organization continues to accelerate the impact of nonprofit organizations globally.