6 May 2019

Seychelles: Free ICT Trainings in Seychelles Show Students That Girls Can Outpace Boys in Front of the Computer

Seychelles' Eco Sol Consulting is offering Seychellois secondary students free Information Communications Technology sensitization and training, and the classes are helping change attitudes and outlooks as to what women and girls can accomplish in the ICT sector.

Thirty students from Anse Royale and Anse Boileau secondary schools attended the first training, which was held last week at the University of Seychelles.

The training was facilitated by Zacharia Kafuko, the creator and producer of a Zambian award-winning radio-based educative science program called "Science Bench." Kafuko is part of Zambia's national ICT orientation team and currently the Regional Secretary General for Jets - an association that promotes interest in science among young people through hands-on participation.

Kafuko said he was impressed with "the unexpected level of interest the participants showed during the training session, especially around website design." But he pointed out one area that Seychelles needs to address.

"Female participation in the ICT sector here in the Seychelles is no different from what is observed in many other countries - it needs to improve," said Kafuko who is also a trainer of trainers in ICT.

The programme for the one-day training included a hardware hackathon session, discussions around e-commerce and 'the internet of things', and cyber security. It also featured live video conferences with leading ICT women specialists from the U.S.A and Zimbabwe.

Senaratne said that a survey was also conducted with the participants to show how the training had impacted the participants' perceptions around ICT.

"In the pre-program survey, 40 percent had indicated ICT would be of value to them in the future. This figure increased to 60 percent in the post survey review," explained Senaratne.

According to the director "the pre-program survey also indicated 40 percent believed boys were better than girls when it came to ICT-related matters. This figure reduced to 10 percent in the post program survey."

Eco Sol Consulting won the Dot Africa Seed Fund Award in late last year, which gave the company a $1,000 grant to encourage girls to join the ICT field. Eco Sol is hoping that potential partners to join and collaborate in this initiative.

Malshini Senaratne - Director of Eco Sol Consulting - said at the training's launch that "the grant paved the way for a program that was tailored to provide students with the platform, space and security to tackle, learn and develop an interest in ICT-related careers."

This initiative is led by the DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Academy, based in Kenya, with offices in Ethiopia and Mauritius. The fund offers grants to support women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to launch or expand their own initiatives that will increase their digital opportunities in IT related training, jobs and leadership roles.

Kesha Bonne from Anse Boileau School found the training session very useful adding that she "now have the skills required for website design."

Whilst Gargi Arya, from Anse Royale Secondary School said "the training was fun and provided the knowledge on how to stay safe online." Both participants added that they want to learn more about hacking and app building in future training programs.

On his part Kafuko said: "Trainings is the only way women and girls will become equal partners not only as end users of technology but most importantly as influencers and contributors in ICT."

Eco Sol Consulting hopes to replicate the training in all secondary in Seychelles - 115 islands in western Indian Ocean.

Seychelles' Eco Sol Consulting is offering Seychellois secondary students free Information Communications Technology sensitization and training, and the classes are helping change attitudes and outlooks as to what women and girls can accomplish in the ICT sector.

Thirty students from Anse Royale and Anse Boileau secondary schools attended the first training, which was held last week at the University of Seychelles.

The training was facilitated by Zacharia Kafuko, the creator and producer of a Zambian award-winning radio-based educative science program called "Science Bench." Kafuko is part of Zambia's national ICT orientation team and currently the Regional Secretary General for Jets - an association that promotes interest in science among young people through hands-on participation.

Kafuko said he was impressed with "the unexpected level of interest the participants showed during the training session, especially around website design." But he pointed out one area that Seychelles needs to address.

"Female participation in the ICT sector here in the Seychelles is no different from what is observed in many other countries - it needs to improve," said Kafuko who is also a trainer of trainers in ICT.

The programme for the one-day training included a hardware hackathon session, discussions around e-commerce and 'the internet of things', and cyber security. It also featured live video conferences with leading ICT women specialists from the U.S.A and Zimbabwe.

Senaratne said that a survey was also conducted with the participants to show how the training had impacted the participants' perceptions around ICT.

"In the pre-program survey, 40 percent had indicated ICT would be of value to them in the future. This figure increased to 60 percent in the post survey review," explained Senaratne.

According to the director "the pre-program survey also indicated 40 percent believed boys were better than girls when it came to ICT-related matters. This figure reduced to 10 percent in the post program survey."

Eco Sol Consulting won the Dot Africa Seed Fund Award in late last year, which gave the company a $1,000 grant to encourage girls to join the ICT field. Eco Sol is hoping that potential partners to join and collaborate in this initiative.

Malshini Senaratne - Director of Eco Sol Consulting - said at the training's launch that "the grant paved the way for a program that was tailored to provide students with the platform, space and security to tackle, learn and develop an interest in ICT-related careers."

This initiative is led by the DotConnectAfrica (DCA) Academy, based in Kenya, with offices in Ethiopia and Mauritius. The fund offers grants to support women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to launch or expand their own initiatives that will increase their digital opportunities in IT related training, jobs and leadership roles.

Kesha Bonne from Anse Boileau School found the training session very useful adding that she "now have the skills required for website design."

Whilst Gargi Arya, from Anse Royale Secondary School said "the training was fun and provided the knowledge on how to stay safe online." Both participants added that they want to learn more about hacking and app building in future training programs.

On his part Kafuko said: "Trainings is the only way women and girls will become equal partners not only as end users of technology but most importantly as influencers and contributors in ICT."

Eco Sol Consulting hopes to replicate the training in all secondary in Seychelles - 115 islands in western Indian Ocean.

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