In January of 2022, ten interns arrived at Antara Health’s offices in the leafy Nairobi suburb of Lavington after having just completed a year of hands-on training. This internship would represent their first chance to apply their training in a professional atmosphere.
But these weren’t just any interns. They were highly motivated, disciplined, and watchful for any opportunity to prove they could contribute to Antara’s business.
They were also all young women, all from disadvantaged backgrounds, and all graduates of AkiraChix, a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the career development of young women in the tech industry.
Over the next three months, the internship program would prove a smashing success. Each intern gained valuable skills and experience, while making a meaningful impact in their respective departments.
Over a year later, on International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2023, Antara celebrated its partnership with AkiraChix, and its mission to transform the technology industry by empowering women in tech. The partnership had now entered its second year and Antara had welcomed a new cohort of 10 AkiraChix interns in January of 2023 who were already finding ways to be productive in a variety of areas.
Since then, 60% of the ‘23 interns have already progressed to an Apprenticeship, the next step towards full-time employment as part of Antara’s career development program for its interns. The new apprentices are contributing in communications, data analysis, UX research, customer operations, care team logistics, and product development - a direct result of the skills they have developed since January.
What’s more, three of the interns who had joined Antara in 2022 had since been offered full time employment. Intwaza Belyse and Shadya Obuya have grown into Software Engineer roles in Antara’s Product Development Department while Brenda Gitau has become a Technical Program Associate in Antara’s Customer Operations department.Speaking on her experience at Antara so far, Shadya Obuya shared, “Being an intern, especially one with no prior work experience, is like asking someone to take a chance on you. And that's what Antara did with me. Antara not only took a chance on me but also supported my growth as a software engineer. By providing internship and employment opportunities to AkiraChix girls, Antara is helping AkiraChix end the cycle of poverty in their families.”
L-R: Intwaza Belyse, Brenda Gitau and Shadya Obuya have grown into full-time Antara employees in software engineering and business development.
Antara’s CTO and Co-Founder, Kuang Chen, commented, “AkiraChix’s training not only prepares the graduates for technical work, but empowers them to be fearless, curious and a joy to have in any organization. AkiraChix is an invaluable source of talent and we are delighted to be able to return the favor and contribute towards their mission.”
By encouraging these interns' talent and giving them space in which to flourish, Antara has benefitted from the fruits of their labor while also helping to bridge the gender gap with respect to careers in the tech sector. “Bridging the gap in gender equity is about valuing and prioritizing fairness and justice in all aspects of society. Doing so in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also good for business, because these young women are an underleveraged source of immense talent that can substantially contribute to the success of our company and everyone who works here, men and women alike,” according to Nthenya Mule, Co-Founder of Antara Health.
By providing an ideal work environment in which all talent can meet its potential, Antara Health aligns with the mission and vision of Akirachix. Linda Kamau, Executive Director and Founder of AkiraChix adds, “It’s always exciting to see forward-thinking companies like Antara trust and support our vision to create a strong female tech talent pipeline for the future. Antara's solid track record in nurturing and growing tech talent gives us the confidence that our alumni will thrive. We hope this example paves the way for more companies to develop a robust career growth plan that allows more women to not only enter the workforce but succeed in the technology industry.”