The Federal Ministry of Communication Technology has concluded arrangements to launch gender based initiatives that will empower Nigerian women and girls.
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja last Tuesday.
The initiatives to be launched on Monday next week are the SmartWoman Nigeria initiative, 1000 Girls in ICT Training programme and the ICT Girls Clubs geared at educating, empowering, developing and making women and girls in Nigeria ICT savvy and self- reliant.
Two of the initiatives, the Smart Women Nigeria and the 1000 Girls ICT training programme, according to the Minister will be launched on the 4th of November in Lagos, while the ICT Girls Clubs will be launched in January 2014 respectively..The Ministry is collaborating with some partners to launch the initiative.
The SmartWoman Nigeria platform developed by US based social enterprise ChangeCorp will be launched in collaboration with WIMBIZ.
Accordingly, the initiative seeks to promote the development of women in Nigeria by harnessing the power of mobile communication tools provided by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
The SmartWoman initiative which featured at the first meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development Working Group on Gender in Mexico City (of which the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson is a member) is targeted at low- to middle-income urban and high-income rural women business owners. It offers learning in communication skills, banking, financial, health, and family work/life balance issues.
The second Gender initiative to be launched by the Ministry also on the 4th is the ICT training for 1000 Girls in collaboration with Hauwei.
The training project will inculcate 1000 girls with crucial ICT skills necessary for empowerment and development of the girls. The programme is a three day programme that will train 1000 unemployed Nigerian girls within a year in specific ICT skills that will enhance their employment opportunities. The girls will be trained in Telecommunication Networks, Transmission Network and GSM, LTE, WCDMA and other ICT skills.
The first phase of the training programme will commence on the 4th of November 2013. Upon completion of this first phase, the top 200 students based on performance during phase 1 will be given further training to become Huawei Certified Network Associates
The third initiative, the ICT Girls Club is perceived as a viable platform to create an enabling environment to encourage young girls to embrace ICTs. The aim of these Clubs is to help to bridge the existing digital divide between boys and girls and remove the barriers that discourage girls from embracing ICTs.
The goal is to ensure that more girls embrace and adopt careers in ICTs. The Clubs will teach animation, website development, blogging, software development, graphics design, games, computer programming etc.
The Ministry in partnership with two recognized NGOs (Women in Technology in Nigeria WITIN and Women Empowerment Centre WTEC) will set up the clubs in selected schools across the 6 geo political zones in Nigeria in January 2014.
The Federal Government of Nigeria in a bid to further empower Nigerian women and girls developed an innovative approach to gender empowerment through the Ministry of Communication Technology, Agriculture, Water Resources, Health and Works.
To empower women and Girls, five Ministries signed MOUs with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Finance to develop the potential and earning power of women and deliver on specific services that will impact positively on the lives of Nigerian women.
The Ministry of Communication Technology, a key partner in the MoU signed through the specific technology initiatives listed above is empowering women and girls to embrace ICTs to actualize their potentials and contribute to the economic development of Nigeria. ICTs have the transforming power to accelerate the development of women by helping them to be more efficient and effective in their jobs, careers, and business and to generate new employment opportunities. It also has the potential to significantly contribute to increasing the social welfare of women.
The press conference was attended by representatives of the Ministers of Women Affairs and Finance, a number of NGOs in the ICT Women empowerment field and management staff of the Ministry.