Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, has said that her ministry is smartly fusing technology to empower Nigerian girls and women to realise their fullest potentials through the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Initiative (GWIN).
The CommTech Minister gave the indication in Abuja where President Goodluck Jonathan today officially launched GWIN, an initiative of the Federal Government developed to empower women and girls in Nigeria.
Johnson said in a presentation delivered at the launch that the CommTech Ministry is leveraging GWIN through specific technology initiatives identified and developed to empower Nigerian women and girls.
The key interventions to empower Nigerian women and girls via ICTs are done through three flagship programmes: The Digital Girls Club; 1,000 Girls ICT Training Programme and SmartWoman Nigeria project (SHE App).
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology”]”The Ministry through the 1,000 Girls in ICT Training Programme has trained 1000 young female graduates of different tertiary institutions from across the 36 states of the Federation in the fundamentals of Telecommunications. 200 best-performing students were selected and are currently undergoing further training to become Huawei Certified Data Associates (HCDA).” [/blockquote]
GWIN and Gender Empowerment
According to the Minister, The Digital Girls Club was created to encourage young girls in secondary schools in Nigeria develop an early interest in ICT-related careers.
The second initiative- the 1000 Girls ICT Training programme was designed to provide young unemployed female graduates with job-ready skills to improve their chances of employment in the ICT sector.
The third, the SmartWoman Nigeria project was designed to bring the catalytic potential of ICTs within the reach of all Nigerian women regardless of their socio-economic background
To encourage young girls to adopt careers in ICTs, the Digital Girls curriculum was developed and piloted in 12 Federal Government Girls Colleges across the six geo-political zones. About 1850 Girls registered as Members in the 12 pilot schools surpassing the initially 1200 students projected.
She explained that the pilot has been concluded and the Curriculum has been reviewed based on Reports from the Pilot schools. The revised curriculum is ready to be unveiled and will thereafter be made available for girls in all secondary schools across the country.
The Ministry through the 1,000 Girls in ICT Training Programme has trained 1000 young female graduates of different tertiary institutions from across the 36 states of the Federation in the fundamentals of Telecommunications. 200 best-performing students were selected and are currently undergoing further training to become Huawei Certified Data Associates (HCDA), she added.
The Minister said that 20 top of the 200 will receive further training in China and upon completion of training programme, all 200 will be engaged in Huawei and associated facilities across the country.
At the event, the CommTech Minister said that many of the participants in the 1000 Girls programme did not have related background in ICT but performed excellently. A graduate of Economics was the best performing participant with a score of 98%.
The third initiative of the Ministry, the SmartWoman Nigeria (S.H.E Mobile App) was developed as a brand of SmartWoman Nigeria to create the largest network of connected Nigerian women. The App will provide women with regular content on health, parenting, finance, business, among others, thereby empowering them to improve their lives.
“It will also afford them the opportunity to voice their opinion on issues that matters to them”, the CommTech Minister said underscoring that women in the rural areas on SHE Mobile App network will receive relevant content via text and voice SMS and where necessary in any of the five major local dialects.
According to Johnson, the work of the Ministry in the area of women empowerment via ICTs has also attracted the attention of the International Telecommunications Union ITU.
From 360 nominations from 74 countries, Nigeria emerged winner in ITU’s 7th Category of “ICT and Broadband strategies, policies and frameworks that promote women’s digital empowerment.
The CommTech Minister, who expressed delight at the successes recorded via the Ministry’s GWIN interventions, emphasised that to sustain the programmes beyond 2015, noting that, “the Ministry will develop a framework to enable private sector participation in SmartWoman Nigeria and Digital Girls Club.”
According to her, “the Ministry also intends to develop other Mobile Apps specifically aimed at empowering Nigerian women and girls as well as introduce other specific ICT-driven initiatives to foster gender inclusion in Nigeria.”
Some members of the Digital Girls Club gave memorable testimonials that highlighted the crucial role the Club is playing in demystifying ICTs.
GWIN is being implemented through a memorandum of understanding signed by five pilot Ministries: the Ministries of Finance, Communication Technology, Agriculture, Water Resources, Health and Works).
The participating Ministries are being financed by the Federal Government to develop the potential and earning power of women through the delivery of specific programmes services that will impact positively on the lives of Nigerian women.