Meet Lindiwe Ellen Pilime
Just about a year ago, WCE sat down with Lindiwe Pilime to discuss her experience as the project manager of the Inspire Girls program based in Zimbabwe. She plays a vital role in ensuring the bootcamps are running smoothly and every student is getting the most out of her experience. Lindiwe described her position in detail:
“I act as a link between the participating countries and the team in the United States. I am also here to monitor and evaluate how the project is being implemented in different countries, and plan for the launch of the program in Zimbabwe.”
At the time of this conversation, Inspire Girls had not officially begun in Zimbabwe. To prepare, Lindiwe prioritized gathering information from the other programs in Zambia and Nigeria. She works enthusiastically, understanding that she is an integral piece of the puzzle for WCE and for
the education of young women in a country that prioritizes the success of its men and boys.
Inspire Girls centers around the technological education of high school-aged girls, typically twelve to eighteen years old. Throughout the course of the program, these young women learn vital skills for web design, computer programming, and even coding. By the course’s end, the
students are able to showcase their skills to their instructors and walk away with the ability to refurbish a computer or design their own webpage. Ultimately, though, it acts as a preparatory course for a future in tech and STEM-related careers.
One of the best aspects of Inspire Girls is that the program defies typical gender stereotypes in these countries, where women are not given as many professional career opportunities as men. Lindiwe explained that the current issue in Zimbabwe is that more opportunities are starting to
open up for women, but there are not enough women to fill those positions because they do not have the educational background.
“Times are definitely changing, but it’s slow with education for girls in Africa,” Lindiwe said with an optimistic, yet weary tone in her voice. “After school, girls have chores waiting for them while their brothers are learning all these technology skills for their future careers.” The progress
may be slow, but the changes that have been made in the past decade are already helping African women. Being an active part of that change seems to be what motivates Lindiwe and many of the other volunteers with WCE. Lindiwe and the entire WCE family are very optimistic about the future of the program in Zimbabwe.
“From the reports I’m getting, the girls are really excited and enjoying every moment of it. It’s a new experience. Imagine being able to repair a laptop or do the things they are doing! It’s so, so exciting.”