In Conversation:Agang Ditlhogo (Co-Founder,The Clicking Generation)

Having been active in the Botswana tech space for a decade now, Agang has over the years contributed her fair share to the growth of tech in Botswana especially with regards to women participation mainly through The Clicking Generation, an academy she co-founded, and numerous other social initiatives she has been involved in. In this interview, she chats about how and when she fell in love with technology, her career trajectory, and what the future holds for her in the industry

In your own words, please tell us who Agang Ditlhogo is?

Agang is a tech-enthusiast. I love all things tech and the trends associated with digitization and advancements in technology. I am a tech geek and I'm always looking for opportunities how I can contribute to the tech landscape either locally or internationally.

Briefly take us through your journey to a career in tech

I completed my tertiary education at the University of Botswana where I studied Computer Information Systems. I was fascinated with elements of the course like coding, how systems work together, and the career opportunities presented by the course. I went on to work in the technology field where I did first-level support,second-level support. Currently, I am working on development projects and figuring out how to make technology make sense for humanity.

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

My initial love and fascination for the field as well as all the possible career opportunities I saw were the main motivating factors. Also, me getting my technician job and realizing what was available and possible outside of those also got me where I am now.

Unfortunately, tech still has a big gender gap problem with a paltry number of women participants in the sector let alone decision-making positions. What has your experience been as a woman in such a field and how have you dealt with the challenges that come with such a wide gender gap?

Research has shown that in STEM, there is a huge representation gap. You can look at the number of girls completing their Computer Science degrees. The numbers are really low. As someone in the field, it is very intimidating but it is not a problem one can solve on their own. With me, I had the motivation to say “ok this is where I am, this is where I find myself” and tried to get my voice to hear whenever and wherever I could and tried to be impactful in changing this gender disparity in tech.

On the other hand, what has been the upside of being such a trailblazer in the field?

The upside has been the number of young women who are intentional about driving change in the field. Also, the number of mentors and mentees engaging with each other to attain some level of parity in the field. Little by little, we are seeing programs that are intentional about getting girls and young women in the field so seeing all that progress is an upside and keeps me motivated.

Please tell us more about your academy, The Clicking Generation

I am the co-founder of The Clicking Generation which was founded in 2011. It started off as a simple idea with my former roommate to say as young women who are just completing their tertiary education in tech and seeing how other young girls were struggling with the course and in the field, we asked ourselves what we could do to help. The Clicking Generation was then born to address that pain point. We opened our first academy in Maun in 2013 to reach out to young learners. We are saying if we are able to encourage young people, particularly young women, to say that “you know what, tech is fun, and id like to learn it”, then at least that's something. We have really grown over the years and have got friends, industry professionals, and funding partners who believe in our mission.

What was the motivation behind starting The Clicking Generation?

The main motivation was to unearthed young people like myself who are really passionate about technology but do have the opportunities to explore their full potential.

You are also involved in various social initiatives including Code 4 Change as well as being the Botswana Country Lead of “Africa Code Week”. Please tell us more about that

I have been blessed to work on locally inspired projects which seek to increase digital literacy. I've also worked on solutions beyond Botswana. Africa Code Week is one of the continental projects. Every single year, since 2015, we go out, through their support, to just increase digital literacy in young people by teaching them things like coding. These are all very exciting initiatives and have given me experience in the different tech landscapes; an experience which I always take back to The Clicking Generation.

How important do you think such initiatives are in expanding inclusivity in tech?

Let me take Africa Code Week, for example. They are very intentional in what they are trying to achieve. They are in over 37 countries across the continent. They focus on closing the gender gap in tech. It is empowering what they are doing and the impact can be felt on the ground. For them to work, it is important to implement these initiatives both correctly and sustainably.

From being involved with such initiatives for a couple of years now, how would you gauge their effectiveness, and if there is a need to, what can be done to improve their effectiveness?

The impact of these initiatives should always be gauged by the stories being told by the people who have benefitted from them. That should be the main KPI. With this in mind, looking at the stories of people who have been through the aforementioned initiatives, I would say that they have been very effective. Of course, there is always room for improvement in facets like how the programs are spread out and make them really inclusive. 

Botswana has big ambitions of being an active part of the 4IR but adoption of technology, is still very low and slow. What do you think can be done to speed up the rate of adoption?

With Botswana, it is very possible for us to get into the next level of tech advancement but what we have to remember is that as Africans, our advancement has to have that Afrocentric ownership. We need to get the basics right. We can't talk of 4IR when we still struggle with internet connectivity. It's a great ambition we should drive towards but we need to be realistic and have a clear roadmap to how we plan to achieve this goal.

Most young girls shy away from tech-related courses because traditionally they have been considered a career path for boys. What advice can you give to them?

You can become anything that you want in life despite all the stereotypes saying otherwise. It's all about confidence and they should not be intimidated by anything that tries to prevent them from embarking on a course they have set out for themselves

What has been the best advice you have got in your career so far?

When I was young, someone told me to always dream and that my dreams are valid. I have always taken that to heart and as I dream, I always remind myself that nothing is impossible.

Apart from the aforementioned, please tell us anything you are currently involved in now and in the near future either with The Clicking Generation, Africa Code Week, or in your personal professional capacity.

I am currently what you would refer to as a social entrepreneur slash consultant slash learner. With The Clicking Generation, I might have been the co-founder but it does not belong to me. We have an incredible number of volunteers who are always showing up. I will always be there to see where it goes but what matters more is the community we have built around it. In my personal professional capacity, I'm currently focused on building my consultancy profile through different development projects which try to reach the unreachable and make the internet accessible to everyone. In the next couple of years, id also like to go on to expand my education.

Lastly, please share with our readers your contact details in case they want to get in touch with you




NB: Interview has been slightly edited for clarity

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