Georgetown, Guyana, 2014, April 24
CARICOM Secretariat celebrates Girls in ICT with interactive session
An interactive session by the CARICOM Secretariat to commemorate Girls in ICT Day was hosted at the Secretariat's headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana. The Deputy Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Manorma Soeknandan in her remarks to the gathering noted that observance of the day at the Secretariat showed continued solidarity with the United Nations and the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU's) call for action to empower women and girls to meet their goals and aspirations, by using and also becoming an active part in delivering success in Information Communications Technology (ICT). "We choose to observe this day under the theme 'Celebrating Girls in ICT' to recognize those girls and women already in ICT and for those of you who will join this ever growing field of study," she said. The Deputy Secretary General, who hopes that the event would help 'trigger' participants into taking up ICT studies and careers, highlighted the many success stories of Girls in ICT from the CARICOM Region. These included having a Caribbean application which featured on the bestseller list of the Apple iTunes store in the first weekend of February this year, and having many women business owners with ICT businesses. She noted, however, that there were not as many success stories as would be desired. "There are several reasons for this state of affairs. These include persons and families not being able to afford a computer, no ICT curricula in schools, computer literacy, limited number of computers per student, power challenges among others," according to Ambassador Soeknandan. The Deputy Secretary General explained that concerted efforts to address these challenges were being made at the regional level. She outlined that in March of this year, the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to plans which would positively impact education programmes and ensure that students would be properly equipped for the digital age.
The event was attended by a number of schools that were invited by the Secretariat, girls that were selected by Guyana's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport as well as attendees from the University of Guyana who had a display in the exhibition. Members of the Secretariat staff were invited to bring one girl in ICT from their family to the event. Girls in ICT Day is observed annually by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) member states since 2010 to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of ICTs. The ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for ICTs.