By: Awa Conteh
In this Women in STEM episode, we bring you the story of Aji Fama Jobe, an instrumental Information Technology Assistant at the World Bank Group and the Women Tech Makers Ambassador for Banjul, The Gambia.
Aji’s journey is marked by her commitment to driving change in the Tech landscape, focusing on empowering women. Join us as we explore her endeavors, from her advocacy work as a Women Tech Makers Ambassador to her impactful involvement in various Tech disciplines, unraveling the narrative of a Tech change maker shaping the future of the presence of women in this sector.
With a background in computer science, Aji Fama Jobe serves as an IT Assistant at the World Bank in Gambia. Beyond her official role, she channels her passion into Digital Inclusion, actively writing about emerging Tech trends and issues on LinkedIn and in her newsletter.
Adding to her impactful contributions, Ms Jobe proudly holds the position of Women Techmakers Ambassador for Banjul, The Gambia, where she works towards providing visibility, mentorship, and resources to women and girls. Not stopping there, she extends her mentorship to West Africa Anglophone Women Techmakers Ambassadors, guiding them in their roles. Aji Fama is motivated by a profound vision — Leveraging technology to enhance the lives and opportunities of women and girls in Gambia and across Africa. Beyond the Tech realm, she finds joy in food, seeks adventure, and embraces traveling.
Ms. Jobe looked destined for a career in the sciences from a young age. Even in junior high school, she had a quirky goal of being a civil engineer, which still makes her grin. Her teenage fantasies, when aspirations are subject to sudden changes, were captivated by the appeal of space engineering and a potential career with NASA. But a concrete link to digital skills and IT surfaced among these reflections. Mavis Beacon’s charm turned into a curiosity in elementary school, where typing skills were instilled. But the true discovery came while she was a high school student at Nusrat. Her IT instructor, Mr. Faal, oversaw a program beyond Word and PowerPoint fundamentals. Instead, he introduced coding—a pivotal moment for which she remains profoundly grateful. His influence shaped her journey and exposed her and her friends to the world of IT that they navigate confidently today.
A turning point in our Tech Savy’s journey unfolded during grade 11 when she spent valuable hours delving into the work of Isatou Jah, the CIO of Qcell, in 2017. Isatou’s inspiring presence left a lasting impact, resonating from that moment until now.
In 2018, another influential encounter occurred at a Tech camp hosted by Wonma, where she crossed paths with Beran Dondeh Gillen. Hearing about Beran’s journey in the Tech world was a decisive factor, prompting her to shift from a physics major to computer science (though her love for physics persists). Since 2018, she has immersed herself in the Tech community, dedicating time to volunteering, attending events, and building connections within the industry. This series of encounters and decisions has charted a course that continually shapes her evolving narrative in the world of technology.
“This experience fuelled my passion for technology and shaped my role as a Tech community manager and mentor for Women TechMakers Banjul and Women TechMakers Anglophone West Africa, respectively, emphasizing the value of diverse perspectives,” she told TAT.
In Aji Fama’s role as a Women Techmakers Banjul Ambassador, the focus is clear—bridging the gender gap in Tech through initiatives such as mentorship programs and networking events. Her mission centers on cultivating a passion for technology among young girls and women. Her hope is simple yet powerful: that someone out there feels inspired or motivated to step out of their comfort zone, perhaps embarking on a new course or downloading software to initiate their Tech journey. Through inspirational sessions and diverse role models breaking stereotypes, the aim is to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers, even if it wasn’t their initial dream. Ultimately, she aspires for every girl or woman to experience their Eureka moment in the world of technology.
In addition, Her enthusiasm for cybersecurity ignited a personal initiative, driving her to spearhead a project promoting online safety. This endeavor unveiled critical lessons about the significance of user education and the power of collaborative efforts in fortifying digital security. The insights gained from this project extended beyond her immediate community, reaching even the corridors of talks on digital wellness. In navigating the intersection of technology and security, she discovered the profound impact of grassroots efforts and collaborative learning on enhancing digital safety.
Ms Jobe’s perspective on enhancing the inclusivity and accessibility of STEM education, especially for under-represented groups, underscores the importance of implementing outreach programs, providing scholarships, and fostering collaborations as essential steps. As a Tech community ambassador, she actively champions these initiatives, aiming to break down barriers and make digital literacy more accessible to underrepresented groups. The overarching goal is to contribute to forming a diverse talent pool within the Tech industry, ensuring that opportunities in digital literacy are extended to individuals who may have faced barriers in the past. She works towards creating a more inclusive landscape in STEM education through advocacy and collaborative efforts.
“At the core of my role lies the fundamental principle of effective collaboration. While we all strive to make an impact, I firmly believe that the power of collaboration is most pronounced when we align on common goals and agendas. This aspect holds particular significance for me”, she said.
As a member of Women Techmakers Banjul, Aji Fama and her team’s dedication to collaboration shines through in their extensive partnerships with various organizations and institutions. Whether teaming up with the UTG School of ICT or engaging with NYC Hub, Tech4all, and similar entities, their commitment to collective action emphasizes the significance of working together towards shared goals. This collaborative approach magnifies their impact and cultivates a synergistic environment. Here, diverse expertise and resources converge, creating a more substantial and enduring effect that resonates beyond individual efforts.
Technology emerges as a potent force for positive change in today’s world. Ms Jobe’s advocacy efforts pivot around showcasing the transformative potential of technology in addressing critical issues tied to sustainable development. Her specific areas of focus include leveraging technology to enhance education, with a spotlight on digital skills training and mentorship for young individuals, placing a special emphasis on empowering women and girls. Serving as a mentor for Women Techmakers, her commitment extends to nurturing and empowering women in the Tech industry. Through guidance, support, and opportunities, she aims to ensure that women participate and emerge as leaders in Tech-driven initiatives, contributing significantly to sustainable development. As the saying goes, inclusivity is not merely a goal but a necessity for unlocking the full potential of technology in addressing global challenges, with women and young people rightfully at the forefront of these transformative efforts.
Continuous learning and curiosity are key for our Tech feminine in the dynamic Tech field. Her inquisitiveness about generative AI prompts her to invest time in watching entire YouTube videos and listening to Tech-focused podcasts that delve into emerging issues and trends across the Tech world. Recognizing the impact individuals can make, she emphasizes the role she and others can play in contributing to organizations making a difference in the country. Engaging in volunteer work with various organizations propelled her out of her comfort zone, leading to her initiation of speaking and moderating events. Now, she humorously acknowledges talking a lot and has observed a marked improvement in her interpersonal skills through these experiences.
“I advise aspiring tech professionals, especially women, to embrace online courses, attend workshops, participate in community events, or do something as simple as volunteering. This fosters a mindset of adaptability and positions them for success in their evolving Tech careers”, she said.
As we draw the curtains over this week’s episode, the narrative of empowerment and transformation unfolds through the experiences and initiatives of our featured guest. From leveraging technology to the impactful domain of community engagement, her journey exemplifies the potent combination of continuous learning, curiosity, and a commitment to making a difference. As we reflect on her story, it becomes evident that in the dynamic Tech industry, every learning moment, every pursuit fuelled by curiosity, and every step taken out of the comfort zone contributes to personal and collective progress. This episode is an inspiring reminder that, in the world of technology, the journey is as significant as the destination, and the pursuit of knowledge is an ever-unfolding adventure.