On Thursday Liberia joined the world in celebration of International Girls Information Communication Day (ICT). The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) in partnership with the Liberia Information Technology Students Union (LITSU) formally launched a mentorship program named and styled “ICT FOR HER”.
The program aimed at creating a space where mentees can tap into the knowledge, skills, and experience of Liberian women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to advance pursuit careers.
The Liberia Information Technology Students Union (LITSU) which is the mother of all information and technology students in the Republic of Liberia, in collaboration with the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and the University of Liberia Department of Computer and Information Sciences (DCIS) on last Thursday, April 28, 2022, celebrated International Girls in ICT.
Giving an overview of the program, the President of the Liberia Information Student Union (LITSU) Mis. Josephine L. P Koryon said the celebration of International Girls ICT Day seeks to create a safe and diversified the environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women in STEM to pursue their studies and careers field of information and communication technologies and to remove the existing perception that ICT is a male field.
Ms. Koryon noted that girls will be mentored by high-profile female IT professionals across all sectors in Liberia and get access to these mentors for future career guidance ” Our objective is to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM education.”
Inspire girls and young women to work in STEM careers. To provide a platform for females to explore their abilities in computer science. Engage the community and promote collaboration through partnerships. To ensure the active participation of girls and young women ICT specialists in the nation-building process of Liberia. To ensure that every high school female student in Liberia gets encouraged about ICT she added.
Indicating that the gathering also aimed to ensure equal opportunity for girls and young women involvement in Liberia’s technology sector. She said despite strong evidence regarding the importance of fully incorporating women into the Information and Communication Sector (ICT) there remains a large gender gap.
“Women are underrepresented in the sector, particularly in technical and decision-making positions. ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. Girls in ICT Day reminds us that ICT”s helps to improve the lives of people everywhere through better health care, better environmental management, better communications, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn” she outlined challenges affecting women.”
The female advocate pointed out that girls and young women who learn coding, apps development, and computer science will be well-placed for a successful career in the ICT sector because women need technology for the same reasons as men to develop their marketable skills, enhance their economic opportunities, participate in informed decision-making, network, promote themselves as individuals or simply to have fun. “Women need technology to participate in the modern world as equals.
Women’s active participation in the ICT sector is essential for Liberia’s long-term growth and economic sustainability. With girls’ safe access to explore the digital world, they can start to imagine future STEM careers in ICT education and technology for themselves. Transforming Liberia through technology ”We Think of the Future & Hope for the Progress” she concluded.
Delivering the keynoted address at the program marking the celebration of International Girls in ICT Day, Madam Maria G. Harrison, Commissioner, engineering at the Liberia Telecommunication Authority said as the 2022 Girls in ICT day global theme calls for access and safety of girls on the internet, it is important that girls and young women thrive in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers they need safe and reliable access to the internet and other digital tools.
Madam Harrison explained that ICTs are powerful tools that can help accelerate progress toward achieving gender equality which is a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations charter and is one of the main objectives of the UN Millennium development goal.
“Because of this, the International Telecommunications Union proposes that the world focus more effort on Women and girls, using the power of ICTs to provide new digital opportunities in the hope of ending unfairness and empowering the female half of the world population. More women need to come into the ICT field to aid the development of the countries of our region and by extension the world.”
She however encouraged women and girls to take interest in ICT including, software development, telecommunications, computer engineering, space development, electronic and electrical engineering, adding when more women and girls join the workforce the sector will support accelerated social and economic development.
According to her, they will visit schools, organize events in collaboration with LITSU and partners and conduct one-on-one mentorship for young ICT students and emerging ones, adding that they believe the program will build partnerships that promote collaboration to eventually create a critical mass of Liberian women in ICT and others STEM careers.
“I want to assure you that it is great but at the same time very changeling to be a girl in the world. Its means for most of you as young women, you have many useful, productive years ahead of you. I encourage you to strive to be the best that you can be in any field or career choose. You must be diligent in your learning, curious about everything, and strive to remain positive whatever the circumstance. Have dreams, walk together, and support each other to ensure that you achieved.
The program was graced by the Deputy Mission Director of the United States Embassy in Monrovia, Mr. Joel F. Maybury, Accountability Lab Liberia Country director, Mr. Lawrence Yealue, Mr. Foldestine Paye, immediate past President LITSU, amongst others.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Girls’ access and safety in ICT” which brought together several ICTs students from various Universities and high schools including, the University of Liberia(UL) United Methodist University (UMU) Starz University, and Bluecreust University.
International girls Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Day was established by International Telecommunication Union ITU, to celebrate girls and young women and encourage them to pursue studies and careers in the technology sector and the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in the World faster-growing sector.
LITSU is the only certified national organization for ICT students that are engaged in technology that provide ICT Awareness, ICT literacy training, solicit Internships and scholarship for deserving students most of all LITSU Encourages Female involvement in ICT.
Reported by: Stephen G. Fellajuah