Name: Wendkouni Judithe Taonsa
Location: Ouagadougou / Burkina Faso
Job Title: Programmer
This year, Drupal hit its 20th anniversary. For over two decades, the Drupal community has believed in the power of open source to create a software that is for everyone. Drupal contributors believe that all voices must be represented in this effort to realize the vision of building a true Open Web. Diversity and inclusion within open source communities like Drupal are something we all must continue to work to make sure that Drupal remains sustainable and successful. As Drupal creator Dries Buytaert noted in his blog post, Who sponsors Drupal development?, “Not everyone has equal amounts of free time to contribute. For example, research shows that women still spend more than double the time as men doing unpaid domestic work, such as housework or childcare.”
These social and societal barriers must be addressed to promote more gender and geographical inclusion. In this month’s Women of Drupal blog post. Wendkouni Judithe Taonsa discusses how the Drupal Burkina Association is working to build spaces and support systems for women looking to get more involved in technology. Learn how Judithe and her teams are working to improve Drupal and make it a more accessible tool for all through voice technologies and a better user experience for those of any background.
How did you get your start in tech?
After obtaining the baccalaureate, I worked for 3 years at the Higher School of Computer Science as an Option Analyst Programmer at the Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso. That experience kicked off my adventure with tech and got me familiar with these types of technologies.
How did you first discover Drupal?
I got started with Drupal in 2018 when my employer sent me and two other colleagues to participate in a Drupal conference organized by Mr. Soulama Seferiba Salif.
What Drupal function, project or contribution are you working on and/or most proud of?
I’m most proud of the first 3 websites I built with Drupal 8.8.1.
What are some challenges you've faced, technically or career-wise?
In 2018, I was appointed project manager for the realization of an integrated system in java with the JHipster application generator and the Spring framework. It was a rich experience in project management and sharing. All the JHipster, angular and spring tools were new tools for the whole team to discover.
Additionally, we were challenged with both upgrading the system and completing this completely new project at the same time.
What inspires you? What keeps you passionate about your work?
What inspires me the most is to find digital solutions that make the daily life of people in my community easier, especially solutions that integrate voice because the majority cannot read
What are some other aspects of the Drupal community that you're involved in?
I am a member of the Drupal Burkina Association as the training officer of which Mr. SOULAMA Seferiba Salif is the president. We also have an association of women working in the field of technology of which I am the president. We create websites, applications, provide free training, techniques on open source tools and on the use of business applications as well.
Drupal is the CMS that is promoted within our association. We also make websites and applications with Drupal. We train students who are in technology schools free of charge, and our projects constitute practical cases for their practical work.
For professionals, training is chargeable. In our public and private schools they integrate training on at least one CMS, so our goal is to show students that Drupal is a great, robust, secure and free tool and to offer Drupal as a CMS to teach in school. We are supported by Mr. SOULAMA in the technique and also in the logistics to organize our various activities.
How do you think we can help empower women in tech and work toward better gender inclusion?
Regarding the role of women in the technological field, I want to speak to the situation in my country, Burkina Faso, because I know the environment that surrounds it. In our national environment women crumble under the weight of the family of society, so concentrating on technological research is an opportunity that is really reserved for a very few.
To overcome these various problems that she encounters, we propose the arrangement of a space adapted to her learning and her social development. We offer these solutions: A technological research center with support services that could relieve women in the management of household tasks (childcare, shopping, etc.) and with flexible hours.We also want women to have the support of engineers who are at the forefront of technical projects and work toward the establishment of a specialized technology watch service.
What does the future of Drupal look like in your opinion? More adoption, new features, any major changes?
In my administration, we were experimenting with at least 6 new features to Drupal. We’re working to make Drupal easier for everyone from tech decision makers to Drupal users. We believe that Drupal will be more adopted in the future and that will lead to the flowering of new features but no major change.
What advice would you give your younger self or someone who is just starting out?
To a beginner, I would say to make reading your main weapon. A beginner can considerably improve their level in reading tutorials and forums and grow their understanding of tech and other fields.
Learn more about how you can support efforts to grow resources and opportunities for women in technology by contributing to 2020’s DrupalCon Global scholarship partner, She Code Africa.