Calling on women in ICT

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In honour of World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD), on 17 May, a new initiative is seeking to bring local schools and learners online.

Spearheaded by local digital content company Sollywood, the project has been endorsed by the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which has chosen the theme for this year's WTISD to be “Girls and Women in ICT”.

Sollywood says it will be rolling out school Web sites, e-mail services for teachers and learners and handing out “ICT Made Easy” handbooks to a minimum of 500 high schools nationwide with a target of reaching at least 150 000 girls and 100 000 boys in SA.

The Web sites will be hosted for three years and will contain critical information about the schools and more innovative aspects such as homework assignments and updates for parents. The e-mail services will also be linked to the schools' domains, and teachers and learners will be shown how to access it via their mobile phones.

In order to achieve this, the initiative is appealing to women and interested parties in the ICT industry to volunteer as ambassadors to be deployed to the targeted schools, to help launch the Web sites and e-mail services and to encourage learners to consider careers in the ICT sector.

'Start a revolution'

Sollywood CEO Linda Khumalo is the former CEO of both Nokia Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent in SA, and the co-author of “ICT Made Easy”.

Khumalo says: “This day gives us an opportunity to start a revolution, which will see every teacher and learner with an e-mail service and every school with a Web site. This is the national target we must adopt in order to prepare our children for the future.

“We call on schools and women in ICT to work with us and hope more companies will also adopt schools and enable them to join the information age that is upon us.”

According to Sollywood, the company also aims to host a series of “Women in ICT” lectures at schools throughout the country that will be presented by women in the industry.

The project is seeking volunteers and companies to “adopt” schools of their choice for sponsorship. Schools wishing to be included in the initiative can submit their details to Those willing to become sponsors can e-mail

All women or business leaders in the ICT industry willing to participate on 17 May at local schools can get involved by sending their details to

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