Bringing ICT to Girls in East Africa
We are moving to a world where people are adopting technology and adapting to a dynamic technological culture. A world where we utilize technology to the nth degree for economic growth. A world where the non-tech savvy will struggle to fit in.
Nonetheless, as women continue to fight for gender equity in all aspects of life, including the professional world, an article by Exploding Topics reveals that less than 27 percent of women find themselves in tech-related jobs; this is a field that presents endless opportunities. Can women keep up with the fast-moving technological world? Yes!
Several organizations have developed initiatives to encourage, support, and push women into the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) world. The gender imbalance in the ICT field moved the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to adopt Resolution 70 in 2010. Resolution 70 calls for the support of gender equality and the empowerment of women through international communication technologies. This birthed International Girls in ICT Day, which we mark every year on the fourth Thursday of April.
As the leading United Nations Agency for Telecommunications and ICTs, ITU is fully committed to bridging the gender gap in technology by supporting and encouraging more women to pursue and consider courses and fields in ICT. This cause aligns with Sustainable Development Goal #5; to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls through other domains. A world of women in tech will not only avert poverty among women but will also give way for adept women to spur to higher heights, presenting a gateway for female leadership.
Creating a World of Possibility for Girls through ICT
At Asante Africa, we believe that ICT plays a pivotal role in the development of any nation. Diversity is necessary for a business to succeed, hence the need to empower the youth, especially girls, to explore the world of technology.
Gender disparity continues to be a challenge in East Africa, a threat Asante Africa is trying to remedy. More often than not, parents directly or indirectly draw career paths for their children through conversations, as well as roles and responsibilities assigned to each gender at home. A diversion from these traditional paths is deemed “abnormal”.
Realizing that the youth, especially girls in rural East Africa, lack access to and knowledge of digital tools, we at Asante Africa decided to promote technology literacy among the youth.
We want a majority of the girls in East Africa to be like the young graduate Laura, who received digital training and now equips the next generation to follow in her footsteps. We want our girls to be like Dorin, who paired her digital skills with her entrepreneurial spirit and grew an online business. We want to empower our girls by supporting and equipping them with the necessary tools to lay a foundation to explore the world of ICT. This is one of the primary reasons why Asante Africa introduced the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP). Among other things, the ALP accelerates learning in the classroom through hands-on training using digital tools.
Moreover, Asante Africa has been providing scholarships for African youth to study Technology at higher institutions. Prudence, a 26-year-old Ugandan, would have been a school drop-out, but for Asante Africa. As the fifth of ten children, Prudence had little hope of furthering her education after her sixth form, as her parents had little funds to see her through school at the higher level. After staying home for a couple of years, Prudence struck gold as Asante Africa stepped in to offer her a scholarship to study at AkiraChix, an Institute of Technology in Nairobi. Today, Prudence has a diploma in Software Development from AkiraChix. We now have an empowered woman equipped with the necessary skills to enable her financial independence. Prudence intends to pay-it-forward by helping her siblings back at home as well as other girls in her village.
Asante Africa is certain that for women and girls to excel in the technological world, it is necessary that they gain the skills to become ICT users and creators in the digital space. That is why Asante Africa is providing the youth in East Africa, especially girls, with educational resources, scholarships, and learning programs for a holistic experience. We at Asante Africa subscribe to Digital Skills for Life!
Written By: Halisatu Aziz