In celebration of International Girls in ICT Day, MTN Ghana in partnership with Mobile Web Ghana, organized the ‘Girls in ICT Day Programme’ on 27th April at the American Corner Agbogba which is located at Mobile Web Ghana.
Girls in ICT Day is an annual global celebration aimed at increasing girls participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM). The programme, was aimed at nurturing and developing girls to consider STEM studies and future career options.
Under the theme, “Access and Safety”, the programme focused on creating STEM awareness, exposure and experience for girls, aimed at having a long lasting effect in nurturing them to become STEM professionals in future. The objectives of the programme were to:
- Increase Awareness of online safety, STEM Courses and Career Options.
- Expose girls to various technology solutions, specifically in Ghana.
- Create a networking environment between the girls and female tech leaders.
- Offer mentorship opportunities for the girls.
Seven staff from MTN Ghana were present at the programme. The schools present were fifteen girls from Kwabenya Senior High School and fifteen girls from Ebenezer Methodist School, both from the senior and junior high levels respectively. There were also five beneficiaries of MTN Ghana’s scholarship for students in tertiary.
Cynthia Mills, the Corporate Strategist for CSR Projects, started the programme by showing a documentary of the previous year’s Girls in ICT Day, which highlighted some success stories of girls who have excelled in their STEM education and careers. The Director of Mobile Web Ghana, Florence Toffa, gave the welcome address and opened the platform for those present to introduce themselves.
Chief Superintendent Sophia Anim from the Ghana Police Service, was the first tp present on the topic, ‘Online Safety’. She educated the girls on the need for them to be safe on the internet by being conscious of the information they share online. She highlighted some reports of sexual extortion where some women/girls have fallen victims when they shared their naked photos online. Others too have had their recorded sex videos shared online by people who had access to them. She emphasized that such acts are criminal and hence, anyone caught would be punished by the law. She went further to teach the girls practical and helpful ways of staying safe online. After her presentation, the floor was opened for questions, which the speaker answered amicably.
Florence Toffa, also took the girls through some STEM careers and opportunities that would be beneficial to them. She first gave a brief narration about herself on how she started a career in STEM. She encouraged the girls about believing in themselves and eliminating any fear towards subjects such as mathematics and science.
Following her presentation was a speed mentoring session. The girls were allocated to three groups in a breakout session. The various facilitators for the speed mentoring were given 10 minutes each to talk to the girls. When it was time, facilitators swapped to another group until all took their turns. The facilitators from MTN Ghana were Cynthia Mills, Yvonne Nyanu (Network Quality and Reporting Manager) and Sylvia Sedo (Analyst, Enterprise Information Security). The girls had the opportunities to ask all questions bothering them and they were answered. It also gave the girls an opportunity to network with the various female tech leaders.
After the breakout session, everyone converged again in the Corner. Souvenirs were shared to the participants and the closing remarks were given by Cynthia, Florence, Yonne and Sylvia. At the end of the program, there was picture taking and networking.
MTN Ghana has invested significantly in organizing similar mentorship and technology programmes targeting girls as part of its effort in bridging the gap between gender and technology. The programme was a successful one and we believe the girls have been oriented to not only believe in themselves and capabilities but to also pursue STEM programmes in their continuing education.