Promoting Young Girls in Technology: Jiggen CI TIC Caravans in Senegal

“Professions in the telecommunication sector regularly appear among the top 20 highest-paid jobs” says Ms. Bitilokho Ndiaye, technical advisor in the gender unit of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Senegal: “We need to push young girls to pursue careers that enable them to develop technical skills and competences in this field”.

In the framework of International Girls in ICT Day and the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Senegal organized during the month of April and with the support of UNESCO, Google, and Sonatel, several awareness-raising activities across Senegal to highlight the potential of the ICT Sector for girls, and to encourage them to pursue careers in the technology sector through the Jiggen CI TIC Caravans.

The Jiggen Ci TIC Caravans gather engineers, female platform developers, lawyers, sociologists coming from state structures, and businesses, with the objective to raise awareness and educate young girls about ICT use and to encourage them to pursue their studies and careers in these fields.

On April 20th, a Caravan occurred on Goree Island in the presence of UNESCO Dakar, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Youth, and the Ministry of Tourism and Air Transportation of Senegal. The event was held in the prestigious high school for girls, Mariama Ba. On this occasion, UNESCO presented its YouthMobile Initiative to encourage young girls to engage in the ICT sector, and develop projects contributing to local development in this field.

The YouthMobile initiative, created in 2014 by UNESCO, offers introductory courses in computer science programming (learning-to-code) and problem-solving (coding-to-learn). The initiative targets young girls and boys, providing them with basic technical skills and confidence to develop, distribute and sell mobile Apps that can solve sustainable development problems at local level. From now to 2017, the global objective of the initiative is to empower 25,000 young people to develop XXI century competences to fully participate in sustainable development challenges applied to their communities. The initiative is very important to initiate young people to entrepreneurship and to create viable employment opportunities in the mobile/information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) industry.

“The digital is the future and, as women leaders, you represent the future and you are responsible for sharing positive messages about the possibilities of ICTs”, highlighted the Representative of the Ministry of Youth of Senegal.

“Why choose ICTS? To solve local challenges and socio-economic problems in your communities” underlined UNESCO.

With an audience of around 40 young girls age 12 to 19, the Jiggen CI TIC Caravan on Goree Island addressed themes concerning the good use of ICTs, as well as data protection in the digital age. Women leaders in technology from the ARTP, the Regulation Authority of Posts and Telecommunications of Senegal, and of the private sector from Sonatel, shared their experiences and shed light on the challenges and satisfaction gleaned from a career in the development of mobile technologies for the resolution of local challenges.

In the context of Jiggen CI TIC, a programme in Senegal with the aim to promote female digital entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications continues to carry out, with UNESCO and throughout the month of April, awareness raising activities at national level to spark greater interest of girls in the field of ICTs.

The month dedicated to young girls in ICT also includes the Jiggen Ci TIC contest, where young female mobile app developers present their apps and their contribution to sustainable development; Open Door days, where young girls have access to Government Agencies and Private Sector Companies working in technology which allow them to exchange with and be mentored by women leaders in the field; and Capacity Building in e-commerce and the development of mobile Apps. The month-long cooperation culminates with the official ceremony of International Girls in ICT day on Thursday 28 April, with a round table on mobile app development and their importance to sustainable development, as well as on female leadership in ICTs with UNESCO, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Senegal, Sonatel, and Google.

To know more about the YouthMobile initiative and the International Girls in ICT day in Senegal, check:

http://en.unesco.org/youthmobile

http://www.jiggencitic.sn/(in French)

http://www.mcten.gouv.sn/(in French)