Evelyn Namara is a technologist and social entrepreneur, who has a passion of working with women and girls in technology and entrepreneurship.
Evelyn is the recipient of the Anita Borg Change Agent Award – 2012 which rewards women all over the world whose work has done a tremendous impact in shaping the world in the field of Women and Technology, plus social impact.
She is also an Acumen Fund East Africa Fellow for the 2013 class.
Evelyn started her career as the IT technical support engineer for a small firm called Linux Solutions, she later joined HITS TELECOM now called Orange Uganda Limited as the IT Unix Administrator. She was part of the team that set up most of the core systems at Orange, including the company proxy. She managed most of the IT company UNIX based systems and maintained them.
In 2006, Evelyn was part of a women’s network that formed the core of LinuxChix Africa, as a board member representing Eastern Africa. LinuxChix Africa (now defunct) was a network of women in computing across Africa that carried out trainings and programs to empower young girls to take up science courses in school. She carried out a lot of trainings as the head of Linux Chix Uganda and helped mentor a lot of young girls into IT and computing.
In 2010, Evelyn joined the Instructor team of AfNOGChix (Africa Network Operators Group) which is a spin off of the main AfNOG courses. AfNOGChix is a forum that seeks to increase the participation of women in IT and system administration by providing them with a woman – only training environment. To date, AfNOGCHIX has had trainings in Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, and Ghana.
Evelyn’s passion with working with women and girls led her to her current job, at Solar Sister as the Country Director. Her biggest inspiration is being able to empower grassroot women to start businesses of their own selling clean portable solar lanterns. Solar Sister is a Social Enterprise that empowers women with economic opportunity. She teaches women the technology of solar and helps them start businesses and also maintain them.
Solar Sister combines use of technology at the grassroot level and entreprenuership. Being able to use business models to address a social need in society has been something so fulfilling for Evelyn to do.
Evelyn holds a Diploma in Information Technology (Science) from the Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology (UICT) , A BSc. Computer Science from Makerere University, Certificate in Unix Systems Administration (AfNOG- Kenya), Certificate in Scalable Internet Services (AfNOG – Nigeria) Certificate in Scalable Network Infrastructure (AfNOG – Morocco).
She was also part of the business management course called Global Women in Management (GWIM55) – Nigeria. She also attended the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) also known as RIO+20 in RIO De Janeiro Brazil representing Solar Sister at a panel organised by UN Women called “Showcasing Women’s Innovations”.
Her biggest passion has always been working with Women and girls in technology and entrepreneurship, and right now, Evelyn says she is living her dream.
Evelyn is also passionate about Soccer and is an avid Arsenal supporter, loves watching movies and reading books.
Her favorite quote comes from Thomas Edison – “ Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up“