In an effort to bridge the gender digital divide and encourage young women to pursue careers in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has launched an ambitious training program for 1,000 girls in the Northern Region. The Girls-In-ICT program, initiated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), aims to equip girls aged 9 to 15 with fundamental ICT skills, coding knowledge, cyber security expertise, and website development abilities.
The selected participants, hailing from the 16 Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the Northern Region, will be introduced to the world of technology through coding exercises using Scratch. Under the guidance of the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and training provided by the Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence (KACE), the program also enjoys support from several key stakeholders, including MTN Ghana, the National Communications Authority (NCA), American Towers Company (ATC), the Ministry of Education, and GIZ, among others.
The Girls-In-ICT initiative, adopted by the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation since 2017, aims to dispel gender stereotypes surrounding ICT and foster an environment where girls and young women feel empowered to explore the field. By providing comprehensive training, mentorship sessions, and exposure to industry professionals, the program seeks to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue successful careers in the ICT industry.
In addition to training the 1,000 girls, the program also includes a special session for 100 teachers from the Northern Region. This initiative recognizes the vital role educators play in empowering girls and ensures that the impact of the training extends beyond the program’s duration. To celebrate their accomplishments, the participants will receive certificates of participation, and the top 100 girls will be invited to a week-long tour in Accra, where they will visit the offices of mobile network operators, ICT companies, and government agencies. This opportunity will allow them to interact with women working in the industry and gain valuable insights into their future career paths.
The Girls-In-ICT program has already made significant strides across Ghana, with approximately 8,000 girls from various regions having benefited from the training and mentorship activities. Moreover, the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation has set up 43 cyber labs, with plans to establish an additional 120 labs this year. Notably, they have also distributed 1,267 laptops to teachers and outstanding girls, empowering them to continue their ICT education beyond the program’s scope.
Looking ahead, the Ministry aims to expand the Girls-In-ICT program’s reach, with a target of training 5,000 girls and 500 teachers from five regions this year. Recognizing the ongoing challenge of the gender digital divide, the Ministry is committed to scaling up efforts to ensure that more girls across Ghana have access to ICT training and opportunities. Furthermore, the Ministry has introduced Girls-In-ICT initiatives at the tertiary level in collaboration with Huawei Technologies, Ghana, Limited, to encourage young women to pursue ICT careers beyond secondary education.
By empowering girls and young women with digital skills, the Girls-In-ICT program is not only promoting gender equality but also building a foundation for a more inclusive and prosperous digital future in Ghana. Through such initiatives, the country can tap into the full potential of its youth and harness the transformative power of ICTs to drive innovation, economic growth, and social development.