Yvonne Kagondu is one of the prominent ladies in the blockchain industry in Africa. Having been leading the charge of blockchain adoption, especially in Kenya, East Africa, for many years, Yvonne is now the founder of Kenya Blockchain Ladies DAO. This community brings together Kenyan women in the web3 space.
In a conversation with Technext, Yvonne Kagondu narrates how the underrepresentation of women in Kenya led to the formation of Kenya Blockchain Ladies DAO.
Yvonne had her undergraduate degree in Financial Economics at Strathmore University. She was curious to find out what the future of Financial Economics was, so she went to a Software development Bootcamp at Moringa School:
“I was able to interact with the tech community. And within that community I found the blockchain community, this was back in 2018. I found that it was easier to access more opportunities in tech than in mainstream finance and in Kenya we suffer a high youth unemployment so it was an epiphany.Yvonne Kagondu
“So far, I can say it has been very exciting and I get to interact with people from all over the world with different backgrounds. I get to learn a lot at a very fast pace., – Yvonne said.
Being a stakeholder in an industry mostly dominated by men was not as difficult as expected for Yvonne Kagondu when she joined. Though she struggled with software development because it wasn’t really her strength, she was very determined to play a part in tech, Blockchain technology, to be specific.
“I was able to benefit from the minority advantage of being a young woman in tech. Many men would often go with developer or trader roles in Blockchain but when I started I chose to be in customer support and marketing which most men in blockchain did not opt for,” she said.
Her passion and acquired knowledge led her to create opportunities for many Kenyan women because of high demand.
Yvonne Kagondu on Kenyan Blockchain Ladies DAO
Yvonne Kagondu got to a point in her career where she was overwhelmed. Not many men took up support roles, so she had four community management roles at once.
“So I decided to hire PAs, and I focused on women. I had 2 PAs, and I would pay them, and they learnt about Blockchain technology. After a while, I finished the contracts with the jobs, and I released the ladies. One followed my footsteps and started getting jobs in blockchain, while another had saved enough to open a salon.
Also, we were very few women at meetups, so we would naturally gravitate towards each other. We would give each other advice, and through this, some ladies would get jobs, some would get tips from each other, and we decided to make this into a community, a DAO rather. Through the DAO, we get to link up women who have been in this industry longer to help them mentor other women aspiring to build themselves in the Blockchain industry.”
That was a chronicle of how Kenya Blockchain Ladies DAO (KBL DAO) was born. According to Yvonne Kagondu, most blockchain communities focusing on women tend to focus on women becoming developers. However, KBL DAO stands out because that is not their niche.
“You can do so much in Blockchain and in tech in general. We encourage women to find their own paths, to find their niche within the Blockchain Niche. You can be a developer, but you can also be a lawyer, you can also build communities, it doesn’t have to be one path for all.”
Also, Yvonne opines that one of the systemic barriers is that women’s contribution can be easily overlooked. However, KBL DAO and other female-focused communities must solve that intentionally.
“When dealing with a minority group, you have to directly target the minority group and focus on what appeals to them. What do women want? Do women want to attend developer boot camps? Do they want to attend online events teaching them what blockchain is?
I believe what appeals to women, particularly African women, is to tell them why they should use blockchain. How exactly does decentralization benefit them? What is in it for them? How does Blockchain solve the day-to-day challenges that they are facing? We need to ask those questions.”– Yvonne Kagondu.
By fostering female participation, KBL DAO has been recognised as a key player in the current state of the Kenyan Blockchain community.
“We have assisted many women in Kenya learn about blockchain, get jobs in the industry and improve their livelihoods. At the same time, we are seeing more companies hiring more women and leveraging the benefits of having women in their team.”
The recruitment process of KBL DAO is seamless. You find your way into the community channel and work your way up through participation. Subsequently, whatever Yvonne Kagondu does will be aimed at making an impact in the African Blockchain ecosystem.
“Whether it’s the Kenya Blockchain Ladies DAO or the ICP Kushite hub. I aim to see the growth of blockchain in Africa, so expect to see more of that.”
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