ABUJA (Web Content) The Ministry of Communication organized an ICT programme for Girls, the Empowerment Competition with the theme “My ICT INNOVATION: ICT FOR SDGS”. The event held on Tuesday, 16th July, 2019 at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Garki, Abuja.
The event which was an initiative of the Smartwoman Nigeria Programme, was meant to help Nigerian Secondary School Girls develop an early interest in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and related careers. The competition started with about 145 Girls Secondary Schools, drawn from 6 Geo-Political Zones in Nigeria among which 6 schools were pitched to showcase their ICT talents.
Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. M.F. Istifanus, stated that the benefits of ICT are unevenly distributed between genders, adding that women and girls, who form an equal percentage of the Nigerian population, have limited access to ICT and were yet to benefit from the growth and development of ICT.
He added that the Digital Girl Club Initiative is an annual National ICT Girls Empowerment Competition and forms part of the Ministry’s activities to mark the annual International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Girls in Information Communication Technology (ICT) day, thereby creating awareness on empowering and encouraging girls and young women to discover new and innovative ways of using ICT in their everyday life, work and study.
He congratulated all contestants and urged them to take the knowledge gained from the hands- on- workshop to develop and propagate their interest in ICT, thereby contributing their own quota to the development of the ICT sector in Nigeria’s Economy.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, DCN Grace Isu Gakpe, represented by the Director, Information Technology, Mrs. Comfort Ajiboye, stated that in order for ICT to have a headway in growth and development, women should be encouraged, having played a back role in the era of gender equality. She admonished, that programs like this should be encouraged as they help to showcase girls in the ICT world, whilst commending the contestants from the 6 Geo-Political Zones. She also encouraged others to key into such ICT Capacity Building.
The Director Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry of Communication, Mrs. N.W. Nwachukwu (Ph.D), who spoke earlier, stated that, research has shown that girls shy away from adopting careers in sciences as well as embracing ICTs, which are critical for educating and empowering the girl child and that with technology playing a role in all kinds of careers, learning tech skills at a young age would set the girls child up for economic independence.
She added that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in 2010 established the International Girls in ICT day, which is celebrated annually to give girls and young women the privilege to learn about the opportunities offered by ICTs, thereby inspiring them to consider careers in the ICT fields and join the tech industry. She expressed hope that the outcome of the competition would go a long way in creating, awareness and helping them to discover new innovative ways of using ICT to provide solutions to pressing challenges in their communities.
Other Dignitaries present at the event were representative of NITDA Mrs. Zirife Mustapha, Anigbo Esther Obumneke, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Ltd, Mrs. Uwem Asemogha representing the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education and Mrs. Martha Alade, Project Advisor, WITIN.
The high point of the event was the presentation of cash prizes to the top 3 schools that emerged as winners of the 2019 ICT Girls empowerment competition. Cash prizes of Two Hundred Thousand Naira, Three Hundred Thousand Naira and Five Hundred Thousand Naira were given to the following schools: Government Day Secondary School; Durity International Secondary School; and Queen Amina College, Kaduna, respectively.
Information Officer IOI (IT)