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Lets push for the Sustainability of “Girls -In ICT” Project to empower young women for the digital economy – Ursula Owusu

The Minister of Communication and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu -Ekuful has stressed the importance of ensuring the sustainability of the “Girls -In ICT” program, aimed at preparing young women for the demands of the digital economy.

The United Nations predicts that by 2050, approximately 75% of global employment opportunities will center around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

The “Girls -In ICT” (GIICT) program, originally introduced in 2012 by the International Telecommunications Union, seeks to empower girls and young women in the digital space to build promising careers. Ghana has embraced this initiative and observes it annually on a regional basis. It has been celebrated in regions such as Greater Accra, Ashanti, Northern, Volta, Western, Central, and Oti.

This program offers training in coding, enabling girls to explore technology by creating websites, computer games, mobile apps, and more. Over 80,000 girls have benefited from this initiative, and 1,615 laptops have been distributed to outstanding girls and teachers. Moreover, Cyber Laboratories have been established in beneficiary regions.

Culminating this year’s celebration in Koforidua, the capital of the Eastern Region, Minister of Communication Ursula Owusu -Ekuful underlined the importance of maintaining this program to empower young women in the digital field and bridge the gender digital divide. This initiative aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 5 and Ghana’s ICT for Accelerated Development policy.

Minister Ursula Owusu -Ekuful noted that some of the program’s beneficiaries are now pursuing tertiary education programs in ICT, while others are developing solutions to address national challenges.

Key supporters of the program include MTN Ghana, GIFEC, the National Communications Authority (NCA), and the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence.

Adwoa Wiafe, Chief Corporate Services and Sustainability Officer of MTN Ghana, emphasized the significance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Africa’s progress and the need to bridge the gender gap in the tech industry.

Adwoa Wiafe reiterated the importance of digital skills, stating, “ICT is the future. It offers limitless opportunities for creativity, innovation, and career growth. It is possibly the answer to many of our developmental challenges.”

She added, “MTN also recognizes the power of diversity in the tech industry. The gender gap in ICT is wide. We believe in creating an inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed and innovate. And that starts by supporting and encouraging girls to explore and embrace the world of technology fearlessly.”

In the Eastern Region, the “Girls in ICT” program trained 1,000 girls across all 33 districts and municipalities. All participants received certificates of participation.

Notably, New Juaben South was recognized for the overall best performance of the beneficiary girls, followed by Nsawam Adoagyiri and Upper Manya Krobo.

One hundred top-performing girls received laptops, and the top three participants who excelled additionally received cash prizes.

Cyber Laboratories are also planned to be built in the best-performing districts.

Edna Edem Sowu, a 12-year-old Junior High School student from Trinity Presby School, was crowned overall best participant.

In a speech on behalf of the participants commended government for the initiative, believing that it will motivate more girls to pursue ICT-related disciplines to help build the Ghanaian economy.

Distinguished guests at the event included the Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong, the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and the Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional Area. Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee graced the occasion as the Special Guest of Honor.

The “Girls in ICT” program in Ghana continues to empower and prepare young women for the digital economy, with the support of key organizations and the vision of bridging the gender digital divide. This initiative is gaining momentum and recognition across the nation, remaining a critical step toward achieving Ghana’s ICT goals.

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