This year, the ITU Regional Office for Africa in collaboration with the African Union Commission, UNWOMEN and UNECA led the celebration that was attended by 150 girls between the ages of 15-20, from 18 Government schools and 5 private schools in Addis Ababa. The event that took place at the UNECA Conference Centre was also attended by other UN agencies, Embassies, International Organizations and NGOs.
Mr Andrew Rugege, the ITU Regional Director for Africa welcomed the hundred and fifty Girls who had converged at the UNECA Conference Centre and hinted to last year’s celebrations at the African Union Commission where the girls were dubbed VIGs (Very Important Girls) which nomenclature he continued with in this event.
The welcoming remarks were followed by a Panel Discussion comprising of four Inspirational Women, Ms. Gizeshwork Tesema, CEO and Founder of Gize Plc, Ms. Nozipho Frey Simelane, Economic affairs Office at UNECA, Ms.Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Coordinator, African Centre for Gender Social Development Division Office, and Ms. Amaouz Souhila, Gender representative from the African Union Commission. Ms.Letty Chiwara, Regional Director for Africa at UNWOMEN, moderated the panel discussion that centered on the role of ICT in the successes and experiences of these inspirational women.
The highlight of the event comprised of the Girls being quizzed publicly and going through eliminations rounds which eventually produced winners of various prizes. The prizes included two brand new Toshiba laptops; one Samsung Galaxy Smartphone and ten brand new satchels, all of which were donated by UN WOMEN and Africa Union Commission as their contributions to the encouragement of girls in ICT.
Shortly after the quiz, the panellist of inspirational women took place where each panellist member spoke on their life experiences, successes and how they use ICT in their day-to-day business activities. Following their speeches the floor was then open to the students to address the panel members with their questions. This part of the program was one to remember as a large number of students asked mature, interesting and very inquisitive questions. The students were to walk away with newfound inspiration and refreshing knowledge, as each panellist member was eager to provide as much information as they could.
Following lunch, the VIGs smartly dressed in white tee-shirts with the Girls in ICT logo and those of ITU, AUC, UNECA and UN Women also participated in breakaway hands-on workshops where they were able to put their eager fingers on laptops that were connected to the Internet to open their email accounts and register on some social networks with the assistance of ITU staff, IT specialists and volunteers for the day.
The ITU Regional Director expressed his appreciation to the Africa Union Commission for their role in the celebrations and their donation of the ten satchels as prizes. He also thanked UN Women who donated the two laptops and Samsung Galaxy Note Tab 4 as prizes to the girls. He also thanked the UNECA who acted as host of the celebrations by giving the venue for the event and putting two computer training labs at the disposal of the VIGs for the day. He also thanked the Honourable State Minister of ICT, Honourable Peter Gatkuoth Gey for his presence and address at the event and profoundly thanked the four sensational inspirational women speakers, and the able moderator of the panel in the person of Ms. Letty Chiwara for their collective their commitment and being role models that would impact the lives of the VIGs.