IBM has announced that it has awarded a $50,000 USD grant ($25,000 cash, $25,000 in technology) to Colombia-based PionerasDev, a nonprofit whose mission is to create and cultivate self-managed communities for women to learn and work on computer and web programming. The organization helps women and girls in Colombia learn how to code, provides them with a supportive community to foster their self-education through events, meetups and mentorships and even helps them to find jobs in tech.
IBM has said that it was inspired by the PionerasDev’s commitment to increasing the participation of women in the programming and developing space. PionerasDev is a women-led and women-focused organization, with physical locations across Colombia and members across the globe. The organization, which has grown from five members at launch to over 1,200 in just three years, is rapidly growing across Colombia and creating a community of women to teach and support each other in the open source and development world. Pioneras focuses primarily on recruiting women from lower income areas, with over 80% of its current membership falling into that category.
Over the past three years, PionerasDev has held hundreds of free events for women across Colombia, including meetups and bootcamps as well as activations at the country’s largest tech and open source conferences.
“We believe that creating a supportive and empowering community for women and girls to learn how to code and program is a crucial first step to increasing the number of women we see in tech jobs across the country. Too often, the barrier for women to enter these web and computer programming jobs is the lack of access to resources and training, so at Pioneras we’re working to alleviate that and provide women from lower income areas with the tools and support they need to succeed,” said Marian Villa Roldàn, CEO of PionerasDev.
“We began as a small group of women focused on Node.js technology, and when we launched, the women who were joining our meetups thought they were there for digital marketing training. Coding and development weren’t even on the radar. But now, through countless events and a growing community, we’re showing women that they too can be active in the tech and open source worlds.”
PionerasDev plans to put the IBM Open Source Community Grant to use to reach and impact more women through online events and boot camps. With the state of the pandemic, a large number of the 40 scheduled events the organization had in 2020 have had to be rescheduled or changed to virtual events, so they plan to apply these resources to ensure their mission is not affected or slowed down due to the pandemic. Additionally, the nonprofit has plans for a special project in the rural area of Colombia and the launch of the organization’s first ever tech conference, Pionera Conference.
Photo courtesy PionerasDev, Medellín