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Asikana Network launches #eSkills4Girls in Zambia

Over 70 girls aged 15-24 years old were brought together by Asikana Network to acquire basic ICT skills with support from #eSkills4Girls, an initiative aimed at tackling the existing gender digital divide particularly in low income and developing countries with a global goal to increase the access of women and girls to the digital world.

Working in collaboration with its partners, Chiparamba Breakthrough Sports Academy and Lubuto Library; Asikana network brought the girls together at the University of Zambia, Department of Computer Science labs in a week to commemorate Africa Code Week, that is hosting workshops in 35 countries across Africa.

The guest of Honor, Miss Bernadette Deka, Policy Monitoring and Research Center Executive Director, was pleased that community based organizations were responding to the call of Smart Zambia by Government (Vision 2030) by coming up with initiatives that create chances for the girls, boys and pupils to have an early exposure to ICTs.
PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Deka graced the launch of #eSkills4Girls
Other than sharing with the girls her humble beginnings, and her journey in her activism and career, She took the opportunity to share with them some interventions that Government has taken implementing various initiatives in order to improve the ICTs sector in the country and bridge the digital divide:
  • In 2006, the government through the Ministry of Communication and Transport launched the National Information and Communication Technology policy. The aim of the policy was to transform Zambia into an information and knowledge based society supported by increased access to ICTs by all citizens by 2030. (Ministry of Transport and Communications , 2006). The policy was designed as a guiding tool for the implementation of ICTs in various sectors for service delivery and enhance the access of information by citizens through ICTs.
  • In 2015, the government launched the centre of excellence program for e-governance and ICTS. This program is an initiative for the uptake and use of ICTs through an effective national e-governance for public service delivery. The aim of the program is to improve co-ordination, implementation of ICTs projects, as well as ensuring the effectiveness of service delivery by the public service to citizens and other stakeholder especially the delivery of information (Lumpa, 2017).
  • Zambia National Data center was launched in March 2017 as part of the Smart Zambia phase one project as the government moved to an electronic-government system, which will result in the Government to provide all services online. This initiative will enable government departments and agencies to store information for government and private sector without concerns of losing the data in future.
  • The government through the Ministry of Transport and Communication is reviewing the 2006 national information and communication technology policy in order to make it responsive to the new prevailing dynamics in the sector and well as enable it to further provide for the development of various ICT policies in various sectors such as the education sector.

Most of the girls at the launch were using a computer for the very first time and were taken through the basics of computer hardware and software and introduced to basic programming using Scratch and Sonic Pi.

For more of such opportunities for girls, visit the Asikana Network Facebook Page