International Girls in ICT Day
was again sponsored by International Telecommunications Union on the fourth Thursday of April (which this year turned out to be 4/24/14). The initiative, launched by ITU with the purpose of raising awareness of the importance of involving girls in ICT fields, aims to promote the benefits that ICT careers may offer.
In 2012, many African nations celebrated International Girls In ICT Day. Organizations in at least 16 African nations participated the following year. This year, we note roughly the same number of events. Also, it is worth noting that we have observed more female-oriented African tech events during the course of the year – a testament to the lasting success of the official Girls in ICT Day.
By our count, at least 13 African countries held or will hold a gathering this month to get girls excited about ICT. Most events directly aimed to encourage girls to pursue careers in ICT.Cameroon
: Girls in Tech Cameroon celebrated
in Yaounde, with an emphasis on professionalism.Congo-Brazzaville
: Femtic Congo, with the support of the telecoms regulator ARPCE, celebrated with a series of panels on ICT and employment.Cote d’Ivoire
: The Ministry of Posts and ICT (along with the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women, and Children) hosted an event with the organization Femmes & TIC. Ethiopia
: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with Africa Union Commission, UNECA, UNDP, UN Women, other UN Agencies and the private sector held an event
in Addis Ababa.
: Girls in ICT Gambia held a logo design competition and school debate on the importance of ICTs.Ghana
: The Ministry of Communications, with the assistance from other ministries, held an event
in Koforidua (Eastern region).Kenya
: AkiraChix, for the second time, hosted a day-long event at iHub Nairobi
for high school and university girls interested in ICT. Successful female entrepreneurs were on hand to share their experiences.Liberia
: The Ministry of Gender and Development held an event where iLab Liberia, among others, gave a presentation.South Africa
: Intel Africa and Girls Invent held a coding session for girls. Uganda
: The Commonwealth Peoples’ Association of Uganda, supported by the Government of Uganda, held an ICT-themed debate on April 9th.
Other posts, videos, and anecdotes about how African girls are utilizing technology were also shared under the hashtag #GirlsinICT
Just because the official Girls in ICT Day is over doesn’t mean that we should forget about strengthening the involvement of girls in ICT! In Africa, girls generally have less access to a formal education, let alone one involving the latest technology. Providing girls with access to ICT (and role models to foster their passions) is vital if African nations are to become information-based societies.