• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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British Deputy High Commission trains 67,000 women, girls in ICT

British Deputy High Commission trains 67,000 women, girls in ICT

Recognising the significance of International Women’s Day, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Johnny Baxter on Friday disclosed that the Commission in partnership with Cybersafe Foundation has trained 67,000 women and girls in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) over three years.

He reiterated the commitment of the Commission to providing more opportunities for women and girls across all sectors of society.

Baxter, who spoke at the DigiHubs award ceremony in Lagos, emphasized the significance of collaboration aimed at empowering women and girls in the field of ICT. Highlighting the importance of inclusivity, he underscored the pivotal role women should play in shaping the digital landscape.

“This collaboration is a really, really important endeavour to bring more women and girls into ICT and digital,” stated the Deputy High Commissioner during his address. “What we’re doing is providing training and skills to enable those women to play the kind of role that they should be playing in these new sectors”, he said.

The Deputy High Commissioner revealed staggering statistics, stating that in the first two cohorts, over 6,800 women and girls were trained, yet this represented less than 6 percent of those who expressed interest. Determined to bridge this gap, the Commission collaborated with Cybersafe Foundation, and revamped its approach. The subsequent cohort witnessed a monumental increase, with nearly 60,000 women and girls trained, culminating in a total of nearly 67,000 beneficiaries over three years.

“It’s clear that the economies are much more successful if they involve everyone in their society,” asserted the Deputy High Commissioner, emphasizing the critical link between gender inclusivity and economic prosperity. With ICT contributing approximately 15 percent to Nigeria’s GDP and poised for further growth, ensuring women and girls have access to this sector is paramount.

Confidence Staveley, founder/executive director, Cybersafe Foundation, said, the lack of women’s inclusion in technology comes at a massive cost.

According to her, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved in US$1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income in the last decade – a loss that will grow to US$1.5 trillion by 2025 without action according to a 2022 Gender Snapshot report.

“Today, we celebrate our Digichampions who in true spirit of Women are known for, generosity and service that in their local area they are after getting trained by us, training 100 women in each community…creating an organic ripple effect of digital skills transfer,” she said.

She highlighted DigiGirls’ contribution to accelerating gender equality and delivering economic empowerment through digital skills.

Five awards were presented to the recipients at the event. The awards include Mission Champion award (A.K.A Overall Best Hub) presented to Abbas Baba from Development Hub, Borno State.

The second award was Impact Amplifier Award, presented to Oyo Effiom, from Guru Innovation Hub, Cross River State; also Shamsiyah Bashir from NHub Incubator, Plateau State received the Inclusive Excellence Champion Award.

The award for Community Engagement and Outreach was presented to Ihemegbulem Chukwuebuka Gerald, from Dignity International Consults, Imo state, and Anna Tanko (Female Led Hub), from Jbest ICT, Kaduna State, received the award for Outstanding Community Impact (A.K.A Grassroot Empowerer Award).

The British Deputy High Commission said the initiative aligns with broader strategic goals aimed at fostering economic growth and inclusivity in Nigeria.

Looking ahead, the collaboration is committed to sustaining its efforts, with ongoing training initiatives and a focus on facilitating practical job experiences for participants.

Baxter encouraged further dialogue with Cybersafe Foundation to explore avenues for enhancing the program’s impact.

The Deputy High Commissioner affirmed the collective responsibility to ensure women and girls are not only included but empowered to thrive in Nigeria’s digital economy. The initiative serves as a beacon of progress towards a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

DigiHubs is a capacity-building bootcamp targeting ICT centres, Technology Hubs and Community Learning Centres to provide digital skills training, especially those in slums, semi-rural areas, and typically digitally excluded communities across Nigeria.

The Digihubs award ceremony celebrates and recognizes the outstanding contributions of hub partners in empowering women through digital skills training.

DigiGirls, funded by the Foreign Development and Commonwealth Office (FDCO), is designed to improve the socio-economic well-being of women and girls (15-40 years old) living in underserved communities in Nigeria, by empowering them with employable digital skills through intensive training, mentorship, internship/job placement or entrepreneurship opportunities.