International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an opportunity for us to celebrate the inspiring people paving the way for female careers in science and technology.
Daisy Jardim is a radio network configuration specialist from Mozambique. She configures mobile network technology to connect communities. Recently, she has been working to reconnect people during Cyclones Idai and Eloise, which affected more than two million people.
She also volunteers as part of Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR’s Instant Network Schools programme, which gives young refugees, host communities and their teachers access to digital learning content and the internet, improving the quality of education in some of the most marginalised communities in Africa.
Daisy works on Vodacom’s Code Like a Girl programme, a five-day annual workshop designed to help girls aged 14-18 learn coding skills for web development. She is also an ambassador of Vodacom Maputo Toastmasters Club, which teaches people from a range of backgrounds public speaking and leadership skills.
Here, Daisy shares what she’s learned through her career in radio configuration and her volunteering work with Vodafone Foundation.
Connecting people is what motivates me
In 2013, I was struck by lightning. From then on, I wanted to find out what electromagnetic waves were – and that’s what led me to study electronic engineering.
I gained a passion for challenge, which inspired me to pursue a career in radio network configuration. Each day is different and brings with it new challenges. There are always new technical issues to tackle, new problems to solve. It’s hard having to constantly learn new skills, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
At its core, my job is all about connecting people and communities. If a natural disaster happens and it leaves people without connectivity, it means they’re cut off from their friends, families and colleagues, and can’t access mobile money services, such as M-PESA. When I get the network back up and running, I have the power to reconnect people.
Daisy volunteering as part of Instant Network Schools
Technology can open children's minds to the world
Recently, I was volunteering with Instant Network Schools in a community in Nampula, a city in northern Mozambique. They didn’t have a sustainable network yet there – so we helped introduce it, to allow them to work more effectively.
We took laptops and tablets with us, and when we got there, we gave them to the kids. They were so happy to receive the devices – and the first thing they did was go to Google to start studying. It was amazing to see them exploring the world outside the walls of their school.
Volunteering can be challenging – but experiences like that make everything feel worthwhile. It made me feel very proud of my work.
Always be yourself
One of the most important things I’ve learned is that we must be ourselves, wherever we go. Even if we change roles, careers, or where we live.
People are irreplaceable – and you can fit in anywhere, as long as you stay authentic to your own personality. It's about human connection.
I'm proud to be a woman in a male-dominated industry
Being a woman in the technology world is a challenge. But I love to be challenged. There are people who say that certain jobs are for men, and not women; women should cook and do housework. My question is: why? If men can cook, why can't a woman climb a radio tower? That doesn't make sense to me.
To the women reading this who want to break into a male-dominated industry: do it. If I can do it, you can. If you believe in yourself, you can do it. Just give it your best effort; give 110% of yourself to it.
I believe that anyone can do anything. Follow your dreams, and the rest will fall into place.
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