On Tuesday, April 11th, 2023, the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization launched the Girls in ICT Initiative in Damongo, the Savannah Regional capital. The program involves a five-day training session for selected girls from the region in basic ICT and coding, where they will explore the world of technology through creating websites, computer games, and animation stories using Scratch.
The initiative has three components: training of 100 teachers from across the region, training of 1,000 girls in ICT from all districts within the selected region, and a mentorship session where women currently working in the ICT field share their personal and professional experiences with the Girls-in ICT, to encourage and guide them in their future careers and endeavors.
Despite these efforts, the representation of women in ICT remains low in Ghana, with a significant gender gap in terms of access to technology and participation in the digital economy. Thus, there is a need for a continuous effort from all sectors of society to promote Girls in ICT and encourage young women to pursue careers in technology.
The Girls-In-ICT initiative was adopted by the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation in 2017, as a platform to equip girls between the ages of 9 and 15 years with knowledge and skills in basic ICT and Coding. The project was introduced in 2012 and is implemented with support from Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) as the technical resource provider, with training by Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence (KACE). The program is also supported by MTN Ghana, National Communications Authority (NCA), American Towers Company (ATC), and others.
Mr. Emmanuel Ofori, the Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation at the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization, who represented the Minister of Communications, Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekuful, stated that the Girls in ICT flagship project is one of the topmost priorities of the minister since her assumption into office. He added that the ministry intends to train about 5,000 girls in five regions, including the northern, Savannah, Eastern, Volta, and Accra regions, representing 1,000 girls in every region.
In accomplishing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) goal four and five, quality education and gender equality respectively, Mr. Emmanuel said the ministry is working assiduously in achieving that. “Ghana is gradually migrating from the informal economy to the digital, and we are currently putting together our digital economy policy with a key policy of digital skills,” Mr. Emmanuel outlined.
The Programs Manager of Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), Madam Zuliaha Yakubu, stated that the role of GIFEC is to provide ICT equipment to make the training a success by providing laptops in the training centers. She added that the best district schools will be given ICT laptops by GIFEC, and the teachers will be taken through some additional training.
The lead coordinator of the Girls in ICT initiative at the Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT, Madam Priscilla Hope, noted that their responsibility is to train the trainers of the girls for the benefit of Ghana, saying that Girls in ICT has been a project running for the past twelve years. The training will be in two batches, and awards will be given to the 100 best-performing students in districts of the selected region, and they will be provided with laptops. The best three students out of the 100 students will also be given additional cash, and the best 10 girls will win ICT lap for their various schools.
The Savannah Regional Minister, Hon Saeed Muhazu Jibriel, expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Communication and Digitalization for choosing the Savannah region to be part of the initiative, noting the importance of the project and how