CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

8 March 2014

Kenya: Microsoft, Intel Mark International Women's Day By Encouraging Women to Consider It Careers

Microsoft and Intel have partnered to mark this year's International Women's Day in a unique way by initiating DigiGirlz initiative, which is a Global Microsoft Youth Spark Program that gives high school girls the opportunity to learn about careers in technology, connect with women industry leaders in ICT as well as participate in hands on computer and technology workshops.

The event marked at Kenya Institute of Education (KIE), saw over 120 girls in Nairobi County receive a career guidance from Microsoft DigiGirlz day. The schools that attended the event included, Kibra Girls High school, St Martins Girls High school, Our Lady of Mercy Girls High school, MaryHill Girls, Ngara Girls among others.

Themed as "shaping the future for Digigirlz" the event took the vibrant and determined young women through business and various ICT topics on the latest innovations in technology and opportunities in the sector.

"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 visualise a career in IT," said Agatha Gikunda, Software and Service Lead Intel East Africa. "However, an interest in IT does not only prepare women for a career but also empowers them with ability to leverage technology in their daily lives to access information and convert it into knowledge," she added.

The event also saw the girls get to listen to success stories from women in the Technology Industry both from Intel and Microsoft and amongst topics covered included, taking charge of young girls were taught the safety measures and precautions they should take when it comes to social media and also internet.

The speakers also encouraged the girls to stay active in Business, Science and Technology programs and to pursue degree courses in ICT related fields including the Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology (STEM) courses.

The new global initiative, aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries in three years. In the first year Microsoft YouthSpark has impacted 100 million youth.

"We believe that this event will encourage young ladies to take up IT as a career leading to a more balanced gender distribution in the sector, that is currently male dominated," said Wanjira Kamwera, Microsoft Education Lead East and Southern Africa.

Nearly 19,000 students have attended the Microsoft DigiGirlz Technology Programs (both camps and one-day events) since they began in 2000. DigiGirlz gives girls the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Microsoft employees, participate in workshops and product demonstrations.

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