MICROSOFT'S Digigirlz day introduced over 200 young girls from high schools in Nairobi county to the latest world technologies and innovation.
The event held in Makini school themed "girls get IT" took enthusiastic and determined young women through various ICT topics and the latest innovations in technology and opportunities in the sector.
The schools that participated in the event included Alliance girls, Limuru girls, St. Martins, Kenya High, Mary Hill, Starehe girls and the host Makini school.
Digigirlz' purpose is to drive away myths of what it means to have a career in the high-tech industry and give girls a chance to experience first hand what is like to develop cutting edge technology.
"Currently out of 200,000 students that begin university, only about 20 per cent choose a career in IT, leaving a huge technological gap in the job market. We believe that this event will help dismiss any stereotype of high tech industry catering solely to males", said Lorraine Maina, the Marketing and Operation Lead Microsoft East and Southern Africa.
Throughout the day students were engaged by different speakers from partner organisations among them the Kenya ICT board, who encouraged them to stay active in science, technology, engineering and maths.
"Events such as Digigirlz help demystify the industry by profiling successful Kenyan women in IT. Relevant role models are essential in creating an interest in the IT field and helping young women visualize a career in IT," said Catherine Ngahu, Kenya ICT board chair.
She added that an interest in IT does not only prepare them for a career but also empowers them with the ability to include technology in their daily lives to access information and convert it into knowledge.
Digigirlz is one of Microsoft's signature programmes to invest in education for young women and build a pipeline on future workers ready for the challenges of the global economy.
"I thought ICT was all about computers and one had to do computer in school but I've realized that its flexible and I can do it after I finish high school," said Maryann Orwa, a student in Makini School.
Nearly 19,000 students have attended the Microsoft Digigirlz technology program since they began in 2000.
The programme gives girls the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Microsoft employees, participate in workshops and product demonstrations.
Veronica Mumi, a computer and physics teacher from Limuru girls said that it was a good initiative for Microsoft given that most Kenyan girls have a negative perspective towards IT.
"Girls should embrace IT because the market is not yet flooded, there are greater opportunities for women," she said.
With focus on supporting youth development worldwide, Microsoft recently introduced Microsoft youth spark, an initiative designed to create opportunities for hundred of millions of the world's unemployment youths.
Lorraine Maina said that the new global initiative aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries in the next three years.
"This company wide initiatives includes Digigirlz, citizenship and other company programmes, both new and enhanced that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship," she said.