By Emmanuel Elebeke,
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson weekend flagged-off the Digital Girls Club at the Federal Government Girls College, Bwari FCT . This was in continuation of the plan to have the club in I2 federal government girl’s schools across the six geopolitical zones, in the country.
The Minister said the project was in recognition of the power and transformative potential of ICTs for development as the Ministry focuses on ensuring that Nigeria leverages the power of ICTs to bridge the digital divide between women and their male counterparts.
She described the project as one of the ICT interventions of the Ministry of Communications Technology that will empower Nigerian girls and encourage them to embrace careers in ICTs.
For her, “ICT has powerful transformative tools that foster development and advancement of economies, whether developing or advanced. It is a useful tool for bridging the digital divide in most economies. It also plays a crucial role in the socio-economic empowerment and development of communities and nations across the globe.
She also described ICT as the bedrock of development, adding that “leveraging on this critical tool not only helps us create wealth and jobs, but it also enables development at all levels- health, agriculture, education, among others”.
The minister said that president Goodluck Jonathan in a bid to empower women and girls in Nigeria, had created a gender empowerment scheme titled Girls and Women in Nigeria (G-WIN) and urged women to embrace ICT and bridge the digital divide.
She explained that the Digital Girls Clubs will teach the girls ICT skills and increase their knowledge of technology necessary for empowerment.
The clubs is being set up in twelve public schools that already have computer labs with internet access in the six geo-political zones of the country. Johnson noted that a curriculum to transform and positively impact on the girls has been developed to teach the girls relevant technology skills that will transform their lives.
A portal www.digitalgirls.org.ng has been created to act as a key tool to also stimulate and empower the girls to embrace and adopt ICTs.
According to the Minister, 1200 girls from the 12 pilot federal government schools will be impacted upon in the first instance and the Clubs will be set up across all the Federal Government colleges in all the states of the federation six months after the pilot test in the selected 12 schools.
The Clubs will be manned by professionals who will play a key role in stimulating the interest of the girls. Periodically mentors will be invited to give inspiring talks and participate in various ICT related activities that will interest the girls.
Current statistics in Nigeria reveals that Nigerian women make up 50 per cent of the population but hold less than 20 per cent of ICT jobs in the country. Also only about 33 per cent of women are online in Nigeria.