Standard Chartered in collaboration with @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University has graduated 100 women who participated in the first East Africa Women in Cyber Mentorship Programme. This follows a nine-month mentorship training program for women residing in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania administered virtually.
The programme, which had a self-paced learning model with mentorship circles and fireside chats, included emerging and current areas in cybersecurity as well as soft skills training in areas such as personal branding and career growth.
Speaking during the graduation, Mr Kariuki Ngari, Standard Chartered Bank CEO (Kenya and East Africa Cluster) said Africa has been highlighted as a region that is highly vulnerable to cyber risk.
“With cyber criminals increasingly becoming more advanced, we are seeing many organizations, including financial institutions, government entities and retail players seeking advanced and intelligent cybersecurity solutions, driven by well versed cybersecurity experts,” said Mr Ngari.
This programme focuses on cybersecurity training and capacity building and is helping to meet this gap with a focus on women who comprise only 24% of the overall workforce in cybersecurity.
“We believe that this program, run in partnership with Strathmore , is one of the ways that we can better equip the East African region to counter and prevent cyber-attacks which are often costly, all while equipping and encouraging women to join the cybersecurity space,” he said.
Dr Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University, said sophisticated ransomware and attacks can quickly disrupt businesses and stifle growth. He noted that as the region undergoes digital transformation, exposure to cyber risk increases. To ensure that organizations are able to protect themselves from these threats, advanced training and access to cybersecurity experts is critical.
“To this end, programs such as the East Africa Women in Cyber Program are necessary, not only to bridge the cybersecurity skills gap, but to also build adequate capacity to counter attacks,” Sevilla said.
The program had 100 participants who went through the various modules in cybersecurity including information security, cyber security challenges, approaches to managing cyber security risks as well as innovation & cybersecurity in East Africa and cyber resilience & testing.
The Cyber Mentorship Program is run by Standard Chartered in collaboration with Strathmore University’s @iLabAfrica Research and Innovation Centre and was open to women applicants from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.