My name is Daisy Gladys Iteriteka and I'm from Burundi. I serve as national UN Volunteer Digital Innovator with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Information Technology is a field for boys and men, that's a popular belief, and women and girls have less access to technology. But I dared to be different through my volunteering, and today, I'm the only woman in my technology unit in Burundi.
Cultural barriers and social norms limit women's access to the digital sector in general. This is especially so in Burundi where technology jobs are scarce, particularly for women."
In 2019, I started as an IT intern. Now, I am a UN Volunteer with Monitoring and Evaluation, and the Digital Unit. I give technical support to UNDP staff on new digital platforms.
Being part of two different teams means my duties are quite diverse. My tasks range from analyzing and visualizing data, training partners in using data collection tools, and quality assurance of digital platforms for e-Governance and e-Commerce projects. I also test different software in development, and identify technological advantages and limitations before the release.
Daisy Gladys Iteriteka, national UN Volunteer Digital Innovator (left) gives technical knowledge to a colleague at UNDP Burundi Digital Unit. @ UNV, 2023.
I was part of organizing Burundi Innovation Week, an annual contest made possible through the support of Burundi Government and UNDP, with an aim to scale up development in line with UNDP Strategic Plan 2022-2025. Other activities included a new initiative called, Burundi Youth Innovators, where young entrepreneurs and innovators are encouraged to showcase impactful solutions and enter their innovative projects for competition. The top 20 competitors could then qualify for further training. Of the final projects selected, there was a hydraulic pump drawing water without consuming fuel or electricity, and a machine generating wind power.
There's a real potential to use technology to scale up development. We need more women to get involved in the tech sector."
I support gender equality as an ambassador of Google’s Women Techmakers. Connecting women to resources in the digital sector and actively making women aware of technological opportunities are all part of my responsibility.
I have always been passionate about giving back to the Burundian community, but being a female in the tech sector has not been easy, especially among my collaborators. Communities and beneficiaries think men are better than women to work in the tech domain and often ask me questions like, “Are you sure you can manage this?” My answer is, "Yes, I am, and yes, I can!”
Daisy Gladys Iteriteka, national UN Volunteer Digital Innovator (center) part of Women in Tech Series. @ UNV, 2023
My tech colleagues in UNDP encourage my skills, and my supervisor, Pascal Mukanya, Monitoring and Evaluation Analyst says, “Daisy, I want to see you BIG, you can do this!” These words give me determination to keep going further, and this also means, where I am now is not my final destination – I want to grow.
Great opportunities always come with challenges. I encourage women to go into the digital sector as this can support economic empowerment, increase competitiveness of female businesses and improve women’s professional position. On International Women's Day, I want to send a message to every woman out there, “Do not doubt yourself and do not let the barriers stop you from following your passion. Dare to be!"