e-Business Life Communication Limited and Nigerian Communication Commission
Lagos, Nigeria, 2013, April 25
The grand finale of this year's International Girls in ICT Day Celebration with the theme: "Tech Needs Girls To Invent the Future" was held at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos – Nigeria.
Activities for the day included a seminar, quiz competition among all the schools present and the induction of deserving women ICT professionals into the Tech Women Hall of Fame (Award Ceremony) as well as the launch of the Smart Girls in ICT Club.
Main One Cable Company was the sponsor of the one day conference from the private sector, which was fully endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology, The Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), and the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), and the Institute of Software Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON).
Guests in Attendance include Representative of Mrs Lolia Emakpore, Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mrs Ogoo Okorie; Representative of Ms Funke Opeke, CEO Main One Cable Company, Mrs Morenike Alder, Marketing Manager, Main One; Representative of Engr. Lanre Ajayi, President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Mr.Ajibola Olude, Executive Secretary, ATCON, Mrs Ugochi Asinugo, MD/CEO, Janie Benie former (Manager of HP Stores) and Mr Aaron , President ICT Publishers Alliance and Publisher eWorld Magazine
Also present were some Journalists and individual guests from Ericsson, Main One and other ICT companies.
The Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, who had earlier pledged her support to the programme, was unable to attend as the ministry had its own celebration on that day.
Unlike last year that we had about twenty schools in attendance, only eight schools participated in this year's event, although we had invited twenty five schools. This was because most of the public schools were still on vacation, and so could not be mobilised to attend from home.
Highlight of Programmes
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) made known its commitment to encourage young girls who would want to delve into the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a profession, to enable them contribute their quota to national development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Making this declaration at the International Girls in ICT Day, Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, NCC Mrs Lolia Emakpore, who was represented by Mrs Ogoh Okorie disclosed that the Commission has been partnering with eBusiness Life since the inception of the campaign, and will continue to do so until the aim is achieved.
Addressing the students at the event Mrs Okorie encouraged the young participants to utilise the opportunities presented by current trends in technology to leverage themselves and carve a niche in the ICT industry locally and globally. "They say what a man can do, a woman can do it better, and you have seen it in practice. So don't be intimidated by the boys, you can attain the same height, and even surpass it if you want," she encouraged.
Also speaking, the chief executive officer of MainOne Cable Company, Ms. Funke Opeke, highlighted the importance of enlightening young girls on different options present to them before they make a decision on the professional path to take.
Marketing Manager, MainOne, Mrs Morenike Alder, who stood in for the CEO who was out of the country, charged the girls to work towards achieving their dreams in the ICT field.
In her welcome address, chief executive officer of eBusiness Life Communication, Mrs Ufuoma Emuophedaro pointed out that the ICT sector is very dynamic and the future is exciting. She pointed out that the Institute for the Future identifies six drivers most likely to shape the future workforce: longer life span; a rise in smart devices and systems; advances in computational systems such as sensors and processing power; new multimedia technology; the continuing evolution of social media; and a globally connected world.
She noted that as the world moves towards an ICT-based knowledge society, the revolution in Apps and the explosion in telemedicine, remote learning systems and research and development make the ICT industry the most exciting choice any young person can make.
She further observed that a lot of teenage girls now use computers and the Internet at rates similar to boys, but are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career.
Mrs Emuophedaro lamented the lack of trained female professionals, saying that women now account for less than 20 per cent of ICT specialists. "The European Union calculates that in ten years' time there will be 700 000 more ICT jobs than there are professionals to fill them; globally, that shortfall is estimated to be closer to two million."
She encouraged parents to join in the campaign by bridging the gender divide from their homes noting that the traditional orientation has made it that there is an unwritten code that says certain activities are reserved for the male folks within the home, such that they grow up operating most of these gadgets and invariably they develop interest in related careers, leaving the girls uninterested. She said this has to change in order to bring capability and innovativeness to the ICT profession.
Also speaking on Building a Career in ICT, CEO of FutureSoft Resources Limited, Nkemdilim Uwaje, pointed to some of the pre-requisites to getting into the profession, which include interest in technology and science subjects, bold and confident disposition and need to research different opportunities and sectors of IT to know where to fit in. she also noted: "There is a need to be ready to be a student for the rest of your life – nothing changes quicker than technology."
Highlighting the need for girls to be part of ICT, Ms Uwaje said ICT is the future and girls should thrive to be part of creating it. She said there are a lot of opportunities to create wealth with low financial commitment using Open Source Software, creating content and services around IT while enjoying a lot of scholarships for girls in science subjects.
Subsequently, the students came to share their experiences at the Facility Visits. They made electronic slides and narrative presentations. Five schools presented; three from the Huawei facility visits and Two from Omatek.
Awards under the "Tech Women Hall of Fame"
Six awards were given to dserving women who have made their marks in the ICT industry. Awards categories were in:
- Best Policy Contributor (Stabilizer) – Mrs Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communications Technology
- Tech Achiever of the Year (CPU) – Ms Funke Opeke, CEO Main One Cable Company
- Tech Supporter of the Year (Back-up Champion) – Mrs Lynda St. Nwafor, CTO, MTN Nigeria
- Best Woman Entrepreneur (Best Booter) – Mrs Florence Seriki, CEO, Omatek Ventures Plc
- Best Fit in Regulation (Monitor) – Mrs Lolia Emakpore, Director, Policy, Competition & Economic Analysis (present)
- Amazon of Youth Tech Empowerment (Software Drive) – Ms Nkemdilim Uwaje, MD/CEO FutureSoft Resources Limited (present)
The Citations were read by Mr Chidiebere Nwankwo, Editor, eBusiness life Magazine.
The presentation of awards was followed by the quiz session in which the students were drilled on questions in mathematics, computer science and social media. Prizes were presented to winners.
Three winners emerged in the quiz competition and carted away presents and plaques as follows:
1st Prize Winner –Peaklane College, Alagbole – Plaque and One Desktop Computer
2nd Prize Winner – Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls– Plaque and a DVD MicroHiFi System
3rd Prize Winner–Reagan Memorial Girls – Plaque and
All participating schools however received certificate of participation.