On Tuesday, August 1, 2023 – The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Shani Alhassan Shaibu, delivered a compelling address at the culmination of the Girls in ICT initiative, emphasizing its role in empowering young women to embrace information, communication, and technology (ICT) fields.
The event, held in Tamale, marked a significant step toward equipping the girl child with skills to tackle the demands of the evolving global market. The program was initiated a month ago with an opening ceremony that paved the way for intensive training for both teachers and students.
According to the Minister, a total of one hundred (100) teachers from across the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the region were trained as trainers to eventually train one thousand (1,000) girls in basic Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills, coding, cyber security, and website development under the Girls-In-ICT programme.
Hon. Shaibu acknowledged the underrepresentation of women in the ICT sector and emphasized the necessity of diversifying perspectives to unlock innovation.
He highlighted the rapidly changing landscape of technology, where new ideas emerge at an unprecedented pace and underscored the importance of initiatives like Girls in ICT, which aims to bridge the gender gap in the ICT sector.
“By encouraging girls to venture into ICT related courses and careers, the doors to a bright future will be opened leading to competitive salaries and opportunities for advancement as evident in the rate of growth of most developed nations,” he said.
In a momentous ceremony on August 1, 2023, the top 100 girls who exhibited exceptional performance were awarded laptops.
Christiana Wehle Awiah, a student from St. Paul’s Catholic School in Tamale Metro, emerged as the overall best student and was rewarded with a laptop, a cash prize of GH¢ 3,000.00, a plaque, and an ICT lab earmarked for her school. Runners-up also received cash prizes and ICT labs for their respective schools. While the first and second runner ups also received cash prizes of GH¢2,500.00 and GH¢2,000.00 respectively and an ICT lab for their schools each.
Christiana Wehle Awiah expressed her gratitude to Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, for the enriching opportunity.
She pledged her commitment to pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-related careers, echoing the sentiment of her peers.
The Girls in ICT program was launched in 2012 by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to encourage and empower young women to consider ICT studies and careers. The initiative has since impacted thousands of girls and teachers across various regions, nurturing a more diverse and dynamic workforce in the technology sector.
The beneficiary MMDAs are Tamale, Nanton, Sagnarigu, Kpandai, Gushegu, Tatali, Nanumba South, Savelugu, Nanumba North, Yendi, Saboba, Mion, Karaga, Tolon, Kumbungu, and Zabzugu.
Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in her keynote address, emphasized Ghana’s transition from a manual to a digitalized economy.
She emphasized the importance of nurturing digital skills among young women to prepare them for the emerging digital landscape.
The Minister announced that the top 100 girls from each region would have the opportunity to interact with women in technology workplaces in Accra, further inspiring them to excel in STEM fields.
She urged parents and guardians to support their children in utilizing the laptops for their intended educational purposes.
Since its inception in 2012, the Girls in ICT program has empowered over 11,981 girls and 1,200 teachers. As the Girls in ICT initiative continues to flourish, there is a call for increased sponsorship and partnerships to sustain its impact on the lives of young digital enthusiasts across the country.