Girls in ICT Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda, 2014, May 03
Girls in ICT Rwanda consists of women of all ages working in the field of ICT including entrepreneurs, professionals and university students. The group's goal is to improve the current statistics regarding the numbers of women in the ICT sector as well as to alter the stereotype held by many young girls that ICT is a man's field. With this aim, the group has organised several events to encourage girls to study ICT including the recent Ms. Geek Rwanda competition.
For 2014, the group chose to celebrate Girls in ICT Day on the 3rd of May. They chose to hold the event in May instead of April to wait for Rwandan students to be back in school. The event was hosted at FAWE Girls' School and was attended by female students from several schools: the host school, FAWE Girls School, Green Hills Academy, Riviera High School, IFAK High School and Lycee De Kigali.
The day began with students being invited to visit several "career stations". Men and women working in technology - including a computer programmer, a CGI artist and a wearable electronics designer - showcased their careers, gave the students challenges and answered questions about their work.
Following this, Ritah Gasana, from Akilah Institute for Women gave the opening remarks, where she encouraged the girls to study ICT.
Next, on the agenda was the "School Challenge". Students presented their solutions to an ICT challenge that was sent to schools ahead of time. The student and groups was be awarded prizes.
After the challenge, students heard the inspiring story of Nadia Uwamahoro, founder of Gira ICT. She shared her journey as an ICT entrepreneur and encouraged the girls to follow their dreams.
The Guest of Honour, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and ICT, Rosemary Mbabazi, also spoke to the students. She told them how proud she was to see their presentations and encouragement the event gave her as a mother to see young girls with a passion for their country's development.
Following the speech from the Permanent Secretary, the two judges of the school challenge, both members of Girls In ICT Rwanda, Vanessa Umutoni and Jessie Gakwandi revealed the winners. FAWE Girls School won third place and received 5 bags from TechWomen alumni. Carnegie Mellon University awarded the second place winners, Riviera High School with 10 laptop bags. Green Hills Academy won first place and received 10 Blackberry phones from DOT Rwanda. The best presenter, Kassy Irebe, a student of Green Hills Academy won a tablet computer from Akilah Institute for women.
Akaliza Keza Gara, also a member of Girls In ICT Rwanda and the MC for the day, closed the event by thanking all the sponsors and encouraging the girls to continue exploring the opportunities of the ICT field. The costs of the event were covered by the Ministry of Youth & ICT and a sponsor who chose to remain anonymous.
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