Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2016, April 28
In Sierra Leone, the very first celebration of Girls in ICT Day was led by the Sierra Schools of Technologies (SiSTec). The event which attracted stakeholders in government and schools for girls in Freetown, took place on the 28th - 29April. Primarily, the event targeted schools such as:
- Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School
- Methodist Girls High Schools
- Vine Memorial Secondary School
- Freetown Secondary School for Girls
- United Methodist Secondary School
- St. Joseph's Secondary School for Girls
As lead-up to the event, several activities were undertaken and among which were massive outreach and education campaigns, radio and TV broadcasts, major policy dialogues with respective Ministries Departments and Agencies, and most importantly, a workshop on ICT and basic office packages.
Facilitated by experienced trainers, the day was celebrated through Hands on Workshops by segmenting three (3) schools per day and interestingly this is the first ever Girls in ICT Day Celebration in Freetown-Sierra Leone.
An integral part of the training and educational engagement part of the campaign was that beneficiary school pupils were provided with practical real-time scenarios on how ICTs can drive development with specific lens on the many opportunities that exists for women and girls. In one of the sessions, Mariama J. Bah, a senior pupil from the United Methodist Secondary School in her view had these to say at the end of the training: "For me, I see this as a golden opportunity that will last for a lifetime especially the desire of creating platforms that will enable women to take the center stage in making careers out of ICT. These are the kinds of education that we need in our curriculums of learning so as we go along we don't get to see ICT as a totally strange concept." She concluded.
This can help ensures these young women and girls to empowered and encourages them to see ICT as a Career. The ICT day Celebration through Hands Up Workshops also helps to deals with common challenges in the field of education.
The Girls in ICT Celebration targeted 140 students in the western area and has added to the National Curriculum subject of 'information and communication technology' (ICT) and considers the impact of ICT as a key skill on pupils' learning across the curriculum in schools. In particular, it has impacted the young women and girls on developing literacy and numeracy skills and on closing the poverty gap. The IEC Materials produced were very much useful in providing the required knowledge and in turn as tools for the girls in cascading the education they gained. Although pupils often gain initial ICT skills in ICT lessons, in order to be fully competent and proficient, pupils must practice and apply these skills in other subjects and contexts as SisTec is going to deploy ICT center in three of this schools.