TechInAfrica – Born in an entrepreneur upbringing, Lilian Makoi has always been challenged with the notion of women’s role in society.
She secretly looks up to his father and learned her way to grow as an entrepreneur too. She’s the woman behind Frokid, an online platform that protects kids in the cyberworld, along with other innovations along the years that led her to chosen as Most Innovative Woman in Technology by The World Economic Forum in 2016.
In her exclusive interview with The Voice of Woman, Makoi told her journey in detail.
“When it comes to me, I always love to challenge myself to achieve the impossible, the unexpected from a woman. So I wanted to be like him, not achieve the titles he had in mind for me,” Makoi said on her father’s decision for her.
“I remember one time I had a fight with my elder brother, and he said to me, ‘You are a woman, all we are waiting for is to marry you off and be a wife to someone, that is all you can be.’ He probably just said that in the heat of the fight, but I will never forget that statement. I was hurt and disappointed that, was all I could be?! Is that all that is expected of me?! But I took it as a challenge, I will prove them all including society wrong someday.
All these played a great part in making me want to be more and believe that I can be more and the perseverance to keep on even when it is not all rosy.”
With her goals of safeguarding the prosperity of low-income families in the country, Makoi noted digital skills to be a relevant learning curve for any generations, especially when taking the STEM major into account, concerning the growth and future of the African households.
“I would hold back from saying that, it is paramount, as I believe the other fields remain useful and are needed to enable tech to automate each specific industry., i.e. to automate legal processes, accounting processes, aviation, etc. You still need an expert in the specific field to make it work.”
“However, whichever field one is in, having digital skills is of the utmost importance! For you to stay relevant in the current and future world we are in, you need to have digital skills.”
Her latest venture, Frokid technologies are one of her answer to her goals, which is, by creating a safe space for the kids as the future of the country.
“Again as a technology enthusiast, I know they need to get online, learn, get exposure, and be ready for the version of their future world! Unfortunately, the tools we have in the market right now, do not make it morally safe for a parent to put their kids online with no hesitation.”
“We then designed tablets that come with an operating system we are fully in control of to only allow apps, tools, and ads that enable children to access online content without the fear of seeing what they shouldn’t be seeing. Our product is currently in testing mode, we have done two versions of iterations and we plan to be ready to sell the product from 2021.”
Makoi won’t stop there. She plans to keep solving more problems in Tanzania and the world, from enabling healthcare access and affordability with Jamii Africa, personal finance and access to financial advice products, and opportunities with Mipangoapp, to mental health platform for women with an arranged call with volunteering psychologists from Saada NGO.
“As global change needs regional to the national to family to the individual level effort, I have made it a personal mission to be part of the change that I envision for Tanzania, Africa, and the world at large by solving the simplest community problems using technology.”
“My wish is for more youth to look at problems in their societies as opportunities for a better Tanzania, a better Africa, and a better world and build innovative solutions to solve them.”