On February 7, members of the TechWomen delegation to Rwanda visited HeHe Limited, an award-winning mobile technologies company based in Kigali. Diane Ukwishaka (@UKWISHAKADiane), a 2013 Emerging Leader from Rwanda, is the company’s Co-Founder.
HeHe Limited is housed in a fun, hip, and innovative co-working space called The Office. With its ping pong table, foosball table, and chalkboard and whiteboard walls exhibiting local art and inspirational quotes, one can feel the positive energy and dynamism of the world-changing ideas circulating around The Office.
The delegation met with CEO Clarisse Iribagiza and the HeHe team (@HeHeMobile), who introduced themselves with their special nicknames. Then, each team member shared one talent, which culminated with the whole staff combining their talents and breaking out in a surprise hip-hop song about mobile app programming.
Founded in 2010, HeHe Limited aims to transform Africa into an information society by increasing access to information that is relevant to each user through mobile products and services. The company does this through its “device lab” or development department, which releases interacting mobile applications. The delegation had the opportunity to play with a fun and engaging children’s reading app called “Soma,” which means reading in Kinyarwanda, one of the languages spoken in Rwanda.
In addition, HeHe Limited organizes “Code Clubs” at local high schools with the goal of teaching students to code with purpose—in other words, “not just playing games but also learning skills to solve problems in the world.” The company has helped start three Code Clubs so far, with the intention of launching more in high schools throughout Rwanda.
After spending the morning getting to know the HeHe Limited team and its work, the several members of the delegation visited Gahaya Links, another award-winning Kigali-based company. Gahaya Links is a fascinating social enterprise founded by two sisters, Joy Ndunguste and Janet Nkubana, who base the company’s business model on the principle of women’s economic empowerment. The company’s mission is to provide women skills with which they can create economic opportunities for themselves and their families, laying the foundation for sustainable peace and development in Rwanda.
Gahaya Link’s products include beautifully woven baskets, jewelry, and textiles that are weaved with traditional Rwandan patterns and techniques. After chatting with weavers and observing their work on beautiful beaded bracelets, the delegation walked around to explore the Gahaya Links handicrafts and even shopped for unique and authentic Rwandan baskets and jewelry to take home.
Visiting HeHe Limited and Gahaya Links gave the delegation members an inside look at the professional landscape of two very different industries in Rwanda, and the day’s activities proved to be a memorable and insightful way to wrap up the delegation trip.
We also encourage you to read the following blog posts about the trip:
- Day 1 in Rwanda: Reflections by Heather Ramsey, TechWomen Director
- Day 2 in Rwanda: TechWomen Discuss Gender Gap in STEM
- Day 3 in Rwanda: Mentors Share STEM Career Advice with Students at Innovative Girls’ School
- Day 4 in Rwanda: TechWomen Have Fun with Science and Tech at Science Fair
- Day 5 in Rwanda: Strengthening Communities through Girls’ Empowerment