Girls, women introduced to ICT
Today is World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD), and a number of projects are getting under way to mark the occasion.
Local digital content firm Sollywood is launching its “Girls and Women in ICT” project, which aims to roll out Web sites and e-mail services to 500 local schools and their teachers and learners. The project is endorsed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and includes partners such as Intel SA and SANACO Youth.
The project is expected to be run over a three-year period and will involve 500 women in ICT who have been appointed as volunteers to be deployed to the 500 targeted schools to encourage more girls and learners to enter the ICT sector. 'ICT Made Easy' books will also be given to all of the 500 schools.
Sollywood CEO Linda Khumalo says the company is pleased with the response it has received from sponsors, volunteers and schools who all want to help close the digital divide.
“We have now started a three-year journey with the ICT women to empower the girls in our community. We will continue to work towards getting more entities to sponsor any number of schools,” says Khumalo, adding that 500 schools are just a drop in the ocean of the more than 27 000 schools in SA.
Sollywood has also initiated a series of “Women in ICT” lectures that will take place at the sponsored schools, and will be delivered by women ICT professionals and leaders in the country over the three-year period.
Intel will assist the project by providing ICT volunteers and co-operatives with extensive training in order to provide the necessary services to schools and communities, through the Intel Easy Steps programme. The Intel Teach programme will also provide professional development for teachers, helping them to integrate technology into their lessons.
SANACO Youth will also create ICT Youth Co-operatives to provide ICT support to the schools in the project.
According to Khumalo, the project includes special schools around the country, for which Sollywood hopes to develop tailored ICT applications.
Schools, sponsors and volunteers can still get involved. Those wanting to sponsor a local school can obtain more information by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
High schools wanting to be included in the project should submit their school profiles to email@example.com for consideration. All interested ICT women or business leaders can participate by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Communications is also marking WTISD with commemorative events in the Northern Cape, from today through to Sunday.
Deputy minister of the DOC, Stella Ndabeni, will lead the programme, with the first event taking place today at the Bankhara Bodulong Stadium. Other events will include the launch of a cyber lab at Bankhara Bodulong High School in Kuruman, planting of legacy trees, and community engagement through the Radio Teemaneng Community Radio Station, in Kimberly.
The DOC says it is working in partnership with Sentech, SABC, USAASA, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, South African Communications Forum, Huawei, Smile Communications, Telkom, Broadband Infraco, and the Northern Cape District and local municipalities.