Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Shani Alhassan Shaibu, commends the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization (MoCD) for its Girls-in-ICT initiative, aiming to empower the girl-child through ICT education.
The project, set to train 1000 girls in ICT, coding, cyber security, and website development, has been launched in all 16 Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern Region from July 17, 2023.
The Minister said the Girls-In-ICT program, introduced in 2012 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), seeks to encourage girls and young women to pursue studies and careers in ICTs.
Under the leadership of Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications and Digitalization( MoCD) has embraced the initiative since 2017 to equip girls aged 9 to 15 years with basic ICT and coding skills, breaking stereotypes surrounding women in the field.
The program is supported by various partners, including the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence (KACE). The training spans five days and involves selected girls from each participating region, allowing them to explore technology through the creation of websites, computer games, and animations using Scratch.
The Girls-In-ICT initiative comprises several components, such as training 100 selected teachers from the region, mentoring sessions with women currently working in the ICT field, a climax event with awards and speeches, and an open day experience in Accra for the top-performing girls to interact with industry professionals.
Between 2017 and 2022, the program achieved significant milestones, including the training of 8,000 girls and 800 teachers in various regions. Additionally, 43 cyber labs were set up, and 1,267 laptops were provided to teachers and high-achieving girls. This year, the MoCD aims to reach 5,000 girls and 500 teachers from five regions, including Savannah, Northern, Eastern, Volta, and Greater Accra.
Despite these achievements, the gender digital divide remains a challenge, prompting the need to expand the program further to cover more girls across Ghana. The Ministry expresses gratitude to its sponsors, whose generous contributions have enabled the expansion of the program to additional regions.
In line with the initiative’s success, the Ministry has also introduced Girls-in-ICT training at the tertiary level in partnership with Huawei Technologies, Ghana. In 2021, female university students underwent a ten-day training program in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, and Cyber Security.
Moreover, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Huawei Technologies, the Ministry educated 75,000 female senior high students in the Ashanti, Central, and Eastern Regions on Cyber Security as part of the Girls-in-ICT Program in 2021 and 2022. This year, the Ministry plans to partner with the Telecom chamber, Glovo, and other key players in the telecommunication industry to train more girls in ICT and bridge the digital divide.
To achieve its mission of impacting the lives of young girls, the Ministry appeals for sponsorship from corporate institutions and interested partners in 2023 and beyond.