The New Times (Kigali)

13 August 2013

Rwanda: Peace Corps Empower School Girls On ICT Use

Over 48 girls from different secondary schools across the country received training on the use of ICT's at Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology in a programme dubbed Camp TechKobwa.

The five day training program organised by Peace Corps in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and ICT was closed on Friday last week.

Lyla Fujiwara, head of Camp TechKobwa said that the programme focuses on inspiring young women to become the next generation of Rwandan technology entrepreneurs by developing their skills and creativity in using technology.

"We wanted to inspire girls to have courage to approach technology and also provide access to computers, remove any fear from them of using technology such that they know that they can also participate and become leaders in the ICT sector" Fujiwara explains.

Patrick Rwabidadi, a Senior Technologist at the Ministry of Youth & ICT said that the ministry had embarked on this initiative to bridge the gap between males and females in the ICT sector.

Rwabidadi further said that camp TechKobwa was an ideal way to encourage young women to become active in the ICT sector by building their confidence and self-esteem in the use of technologies.

He called on the girls that had received this training to start media and computer clubs in their schools such that they can share the knowledge acquired with other students.

Acknowledging the gap of women in the ICT field was Akaliza Keza Gara of Shaking Sun Ltd that deals in designing websites and graphics, who said that the ICT sector was clearly male-dominated.

"Having girls in ICT is still a challenge that we are trying to address because most of the professionals in this field are men. So we have been encouraging young women to join the field and study ICT. Even those who are pursuing other careers ought to study it on the side because those skills are transferable in any carrier" Akaliza explains.

Bellis Kizza a student of Gashora Girls' Academy said that she had learnt a lot about computers like how to make video, programming using scratch and how to type faster. She said as a computer student the training had helped improve her knowledge in ICT and was also inspired to become an entrepreneur and technician in the future. The girls participated in several fun and educational activities and were also given an opportunity to interact with women pursuing careers in both media and technology.

The camp was attended by girls from G.S. Rurenge, E.S. Rugabano, E.S. Murunda, G.S. Saint Jerome Janja, G.S. Kibangu, T.T.C. Muramba and Gashora Girls Academy.

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