Nigeria Encourages Increased Female Participation In ICT

ABUJA – Nigeria has launched the “SmartWoman Nigeria” and “1000 Girls in Training” programmes to encourage more female participation and skills development in ICT.

Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Technology (FMCT) on Monday partnered with Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider to kick-start the “1000 Girls in Training” Programme.

Within a year, the three-day programme is expected to train 1000 unemployed girls in Telecommunication Networks, Transmission Network and GSM, LTE, WCDMA and other ICT skills – which will enhance their employment opportunities.

On completion of the first phase which began on Monday, the top 200 students will be trained to become Huawei Certified Network Associates.

The Ministry also launched the “SmartWoman Nigeria” initiative in collaboration with US-based social enterprise, ChangeCorp and WIMBIZ to empower Nigerian women and girls in ICT.

“Smart Woman Nigeria” is targeted at low- to middle-income urban and high-income rural women business owners to help them harness the power of mobile communication tools provided by ICTs in the areas of communication, banking, finance, health, and family work/life balance issues.

Omobola JohnsonFeatured at the first meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development Working Group on Gender in Mexico City, the SmartWoman initiative was developed by US based social enterprise, ChangeCorp.

Speaking at the launching of the programmes, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson said it is time to remove gender imbalance in ICT adoption and appropriation.

According to the minister, ICTs have the transforming power to accelerate the development of women by helping them to be more efficient and effective in their jobs, careers, and businesses and to generate new employment opportunities.

She posits that through software development and innovation, ICT has the unlimited potential to significantly contribute to increasing the social welfare of women.

Vice President of Huawei West Africa, Hover Gao, corroborated the Minister saying: “The programme was part of Huawei’s commitment to localisation, technology transferring to Nigeria and employment promotion.”

Gao said “Huawei and FMCT orientation programme on ICT Basic Knowledge for female students is not a one time off event. On the contrary, Huawei and FMCT will develop this campaign into a long-term project.”

“The training also enables us to create an ICT talents pool and some of the trainees will become Huawei employees”, he added.

Meanwhile, the FMCT also plans to launch the ICT Girls Clubs by January, 2014, in partnership with two recognized NGOs (Women in Technology in Nigeria WITIN and Women Empowerment Centre WTEC) in selected schools across the country’s six geo-political zones.

Its goal is to ensure more girls embrace and adopt careers in ICTs.

The Clubs will teach animation, website development, blogging, software development, graphics design, games, computer programming et al.

– VENTURES AFRICA

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