From Web Development Student To Fostering Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation in Developing African Countries
At Le Wagon London, a common theme that students explore in their final projects is to better the world we live in. Tech for good comes in many forms, from improving health, tackling environmental issues or in the case of Jette and her teammates Ife and Dziugas - a combination of these by solving infrastructure issues in emerging countries.
After graduating from Le Wagon London, Jette Handschumacher now works as COO for idego. idego is a social impact accelerator helping startups benefit from digital transformation. By supporting entrepreneurship with their global network, collaborating businesses are able to reduce poverty, unemployment and develop new economic ecosystems. Their efforts also create scalable solutions that prepare companies for external investment.
One of Jette's key projects for idego includes Water Access Rwanda, which is a social enterprise aiming to support water access issues in Rwanda and other East African regions. Aside from alleviating the water crisis, they also provide career paths for young job seekers. The company has 83 full time employees, 49.4% which are female staff.
Access to clean water is still a big problem in 2022. 1 in 3 people lack access to safe water globally, while in Africa, women lose 200 million hours daily walking for water, trapping families in a cycle of poverty and illness. In Rwanda more specifically, only 57% have access to clean water. For idego and Jette's team they were tasked with solving inefficiencies in the management of equipment, repair and general maintenance of water systems around the country. Tasks, equipment stock and other data around the maintenance of water stations were managed inconsistently on excel sheets or other third party project management tools not fit for purpose. With less than ideal data management, it was difficult to see where operational support was needed.
The next logical step was to develop a custom maintenance system for scheduling and monitoring tasks, equipment and the status of public water networks. The bespoke platform was developed using a combination of Ruby on rails, HTML and CSS. Jette had support from Ife Ogdubesan (Lead Developer) and Dziugas Bartkevicius (Full-stack Developer), part of the Alumni network Jette had made relationships with from studying and using co-working space at Le Wagon London. Water is now being provided through 545 managed water points impacting 129,969 users and the new maintenance system has been live since June. The system is now critical to operations, used daily and frees up valuable resources so employees can focus on other areas to grow.
Jette and the team at Idego’s projects also include the development of mobile networks for farmers and also systems to help create functional products out of recycled tires. At Le Wagon London we're proud to see tech skills being used for such a great initiative, but also for Alumni supporting each other and finding great opportunities to collaborate throughout their career journey.
"My time at Le Wagon has been a life changing experience, as it not only helped me to advance my technical skill set, but also connected me with highly skilled and open-minded individuals who had great influence on my professional and personal development.
The Bootcamp not only helped me advance my coding skills, but also taught me about product management and the skills needed to succeed in this role. I luckily got to practice these skills during the final project weeks and helped me to build & supervise a product which is now used all across Rwanda." - Jette Handschumacher
"The most challenging part of the Bootcamp was adjusting myself to start thinking as a programmer, the ability to break down problems, come up with solutions and try to improve them. Previously, I never had to think this way and most of my jobs before were customer based. It definitely taught me how to work with other people, as well as helped me to gain self-confidence. My favourite part of the Bootcamp is the people! All of the staff, students, teachers and teaching assistants! Being part of Le Wagon means being part of the diverse group of amazing, passionate and hard-working people." Dziugas Bartkevicius
“Working on this application gave the opportunity to contribute to Water Access Rwanda’s mission to overcome the water scarcity crisis in Rwanda. Thanks to Le Wagon, I was also able to connect with influential and impactful individuals who are also striving to use tech for good” Ife Ogdubesan
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