Barbara Mallinson is the Founder and CEO of Obami; which means 'Mine' in Zulu. She is married to Ennis Jones. Barbara is a graduate of University of Capetown where she earned a B.Sc. in Marketing and Economics. Barbara is an advisory board member for Mobile World Capital, a global initiative driven by the city of Barcelona and GSMA. She is the only sitting African.
She has received several awards in the Tech space such as: -
She founded Obami in 2007; a community learning platform that combines social networking tools. These social networking tools include profiles, profile pictures and news feeds. It helps to bring pupils, teachers and parents together to connect and exchange ideas. It also provide school administrators with a comprehensive platform to make school management easy and effective. The platform features digital assignments, worksheets, quizzes, tests, exams and questionnaires.
In 2010, she took part in Old Mutual’s “Do Great Things” campaign. She was also identified as one of the Mail & Guardian’s “Top 200 Young People to Take to Lunch” after spearheading successful innovative companies. These companies set a new standard on the local and international front.
From 2004-2005, she was the marketing Executive for Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc. She worked as a marketing manager at Axicom Limited from 2005-2006.
Why TechHer Loves Her:
Technology is a great enabler that can transform lives and society. However a successful one for us is when someone is able to use such medium to change or improve the way things are being done. Barbara has utilized the social networking space to enhance and enrich the education sector of her country which is such an amazing innovation.
Barbara is an award-winning female technologist, a mother of two children and a graduate of Makerere University Business School. She has a Postgraduate degree in Project Planning and Management from Uganda Management Institute. She is a web designer and a social entrepreneur who is focused on how to help women be better at whatever they're doing using technology.
Honors and Awards
She started her career as a Research Assistant at Makerere University at the age of 20. She did some research on how to better enable craftswomen get their products online.
Mrs. Birungi is also one of the organizers of the Apps4africa competition in Uganda hosted by Appfrica Labs. She became the Country Manager of Appfrica Labs in February 2009.
In July 2010, she co-founded Hive Co-lab in Kampala, Uganda. Hive Co-lab is a business incubator for start-ups in Uganda. The incubator was established to create a collaborative environment that promotes experimentation of scalable ideas with positive social and economic returns.
She took part in a Makerere university initiative to help rural craft-making women market their produce on the internet. She also aimed at improving their livelihood through counseling, encouragement and teaching practical financial saving skills.
She is also the Founder of Women in Technology, Uganda (WITU) which started in September 2012. WITU seeks to address the gender technological gap through recruitment, encouragement, training, empowerment and career advancement of women in the ICT sector. WITU has taught over 500 young girls and contributed to more than 100 women finding tech jobs.
Mrs. Barbara also creates a Hackathon programmes whereby women design several apps based on identified needs under the WITU umbrella. One of the projects birthed a notable app called Nakazade. The app is a maternal and infant health app that provides information for mothers and traditional birth attendants. Embedded in the app are information relating to pregnancy, health care, use of contraceptive also known as family planning, infant care and immunization schedules local to them.
She also has expertise in Business Development Advisory, Strategic Planning, Project Management and Implementation.
She has two publications on African Women in Business + Tech. BBC, October 1, 2012 and African Women in Tech, UNESCO Journal, Word of Science, April 1, 2013.
Why TechHer Loves Her:
She has empowered women based on the lack of support group for women in the technology industry in Uganda. Mrs. Barbara has highly impacted the economy of Uganda and created solutions to some of its challenges in areas of unemployment, digital gender divide, health and technology.
In an interview with AFKInsider, Mrs Birungi outlined her vision succinctly. My hopes for Hive Colab and WITU are highly to impact Uganda’s youth to think differently and create their own solutions to many of Uganda’s challenges. These challenges include unemployment, poor governance, health and infrastructure among others. I want WITU to bring the digital gender divide down to 50/50 by 2023 by helping to raise a new generation of girls that think differently about technology than the current generation.
She is a role model to other women working or aspiring towards mastery of digital technology.