Once more Nephila is employed in the organization of an event. The project is far from the simple design of a website or from a service supply, since it includes aspects related to on line and off line communication. After the great success of the DjangoVillage conference, we have decided to focus on Django Girls.
The reasons that pushed us towards this direction are quite varied and revolve around the perception of female figures in the IT panorama. Since its foundation, Nephila has always paid great attention to this subject. Furthermore, the company sponsored the first Django Girls London project, a workshop held in February 2014 in the UK’s capital. The idea of the project took shape in the Pycon Sei contest, a prominent conference in the Django panorama held in Florence in April 2015. During the event, we met, nearly by chance, some girls interested in the initiative. After talking with them, and moved by the warm enthusiasm that emerged, we decided to commit ourselves to the organization of such event.
Django Girls Rome is the first Django lab for women taking place in Italy. The event took place on December 12, 2015 in Rome.
- Why Rome? : because it’s the capital of Italy, it’s easy to reach by public means of transport and because here there is a well established group of very collaborative Python developers.
- Why December? : because it’s a quiet period for what concerns technical conferences. Most of these conferences take place between September and November and we wanted to avoid being “obscured” by other, better known, initiatives.
Django Girls is a free web development workshop, targeted to women passionate about technologies. The initiative aims at involving anyone who is willing to learn the basics of programming, and no cultural background distinction is operated.
It’s an 8-hour event, during which participants learn how to write codes to create a blog in the Django environment. Obviously women aren’t left alone: there are some coaches that guide them through the blog realization, and take care of both group and individual needs. Participants are divided into groups of 3-4 people, divided by competences, so as to guarantee to everyone the possibility to learn at their own pace. During the workshop participants are introduced to Django and Phyton technologies, and also to tools used by programmers, like Github. The only requirements to participate are: having a laptop and understanding Italian.
Obviously, the project doesn’t aim at transforming beginner-participants in professional users.
The objective is to provide the basic knowledge necessary to the girls to move with confidence in the programming world.
Django Girls Rome also wants to create the nucleus of an Italian Django community, where members can exchange ideas, increase their competences and start new collaborations.
Our workshop is part of a bigger circuit, Django Girls, an international non-profit organization with its head office in London. The organization, founded in 2014 by Ola Sendecka and Ola Sistarka, two extremely active figures in the Django panorama, has become, in a very short time, a reference point: today it counts 94 adherent groups, in 48 different countries. The Django Girls foundation was established in June 2015, with the objective of helping the different groups in the organization of the single events, offering communication and organizational resources and support.
WHO ORGANIZED IT
Django Girls Rome is not a client but a network of organizers. Besides Nephila, the members of PyRoma, the Roman Python community, collaborate in the project. The logistic and promo-communication cornerstone is located in Florence and is managed by our company. Particularly, the team composed of Annalisa, Laura and Ambra manages a wide range of aspects. The company in general has been involved in the initiative, in fact three of our collaborators (Iacopo, Andrea and Paolo) attend the event as coaches. PyRoma members, instead, are employed in building networks at a local level, a vital activity for initiatives like ours.
Iacopo, a very active member of the community, well known in Italy as well as abroad, is the referent of the project. Besides coordinating the coaches, Iacopo intervened as mediator and manager during Django Girls Rome, helping in the most delicate passages that involved the Django and Phyton community.
The developers, members of PyRoma, had an important role in the Rome lab organization: people like Federico Capoano and Simone Federici demonstrated a strong interest from the start and it was also their support that convinced us to choose Rome as the location for workshops. Furthermore, the boys decided to contribute to the workshop also as coaches.
WHAT WE HAVE CREATED
We can say that this event was created under Nephila’s leadership. Our team took care of all the logistic issues, from location and catering, to participants’ welcoming. Our company, especially Ambra, Laura and Annalisa, helped participants also by constantly updating them through newsletters and emails.
The website is a landing page containing all the details of the lab: on the djangogirls.org/rome page it’s possible to find information on the event’s format, timetable, location and coaches. Those who browse the website have the possibility to subscribe by filling in a form. The same form can be used by those who are already familiar with the Django platform and wish to contribute to the event as coaches.The website’s information is constantly updated by the promo-communication team coordinated by Annalisa.
To organize such initiatives, a big networking activity is needed. Django Girls Rome, in fact, needed some social channel. So, we opened a Twitter profile and a Facebook page. Twitter was chosen because it’s the most used social media by the international technologic community. We also created a Facebook page because it’s a more popular social and well able to attract the attention of a wider range of audience. The promo-communication team updates social channels daily. The contents are of two types: useful information regarding the workshop, and articles about women in the IT world.
Normally, initiatives like Django Girls Rome are spread by the community members through social media and mailing lists. For what concerns this workshop, we decided to manage communication in a different way, carrying out also a press office activity. An important issue, very important to the promo-communication team, is the contacts management: with Iacopo’s support we selected a shortlist of off and online newspapers to contact. The shortlist was based on the target-audience we wanted to reach, represented by women of every age and cultural background, passionate about technology. The workshop was published by online magazines and by websites about job market.
Our company took care of all the aspects related to the event’s sponsorship. Iacopo and Annalisa took action to realize the sponsorship proposal. Furthermore, Annalisa and Ambra had an important role contacting and maintaining the relationships with the sponsors. The sponsorship aspect reserved us some lovely surprises: even if the initiative is fresh, it was able to involve important IT companies like Google and Github. Django Girls Rome has also caught the attention of two open source foundations, Python Software Foundation and Django Software Foundation.
Django Girls Rome is a new reality, but it has already caught the attention of different audiences. We can consider ourselves satisfied with the obtained feedback. First of all, from the subscription point of view: more than 70 women asked to participate in the event, each with a very different background. The workshop had a global appeal: we received emails from women studying IT engineering as much as from women working in completely different industries, like administration.
Django Girls Rome became, in a very short time, the reference point for self-taught women who wish to develop projects. Different participants have contacted us asking for help in solving technical issues. We took advantage of this and put the different girls in contact with each other.
The Italian Django community proved to be so interested in the workshop that we have decided to organize a second workshop, foreseen for April 2016, which will be held in Florence during the PyCon Sette conference.