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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

We want girls to be innovators, not consumers of ICT – Khadijah Aja Tambajang

Ms Khadijah Aja Tambajang, the focal person for Girls in ICT in The Gambia told The Standard that studies show that although women use technology as much as men, women are lagging behind in terms of innovation. 

“We want girls to be innovators instead of [just] consumers of ICT products,” she said. “We have more men in technology that is why we are trying to push girls to also be players in innovation. We need them to now look at the viability of technology. We want girls to embrace maths and science, be creative at technology.”

On Thursday evening, the Gambian chapter of Girls in ICT, an initiative of the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, held at Ocean Bay Hotel a cocktail and prize-giving event bringing to a close a series of activities marking the 4th edition of Girls in ICT Day 2014.

Ms Tambajang explained that as the Day’s celebrations, the Girls in ICT in The Gambia, under the ICT ministry paid courtesy visits to institutions with female ICT heads. They also organised a debate competition between St Josephs and Armitage secondary schools under the topic Do Gambian women have a place in ICT?

“The third event was a symposium we had for about two hundred people. We had top panelists from QCell, Child Alliance, Lasting Solutions, Fawegam, et cetera. It was great. Students came all over from Brikama and all the way down. 

“We had an ongoing logo competition for the last seven weeks and the winner will get a laptop while the runner-up will get a scholarship to go to QuantumNet Institute.”

She added: “Basically this is just to promote ICT usage among girls. We all know 95% of all jobs require full knowledge of ICT. We want girls to embrace social media but we also want them to think of being innovators instead of consumers. Instead of using these applications on the social media why don’t you come up with the idea and design your own application? Why don’t you use social media to study and develop?”

One of the guests of honour for the event was deputy permanent secretary of MOICI, Mr Malik Jones.

He said the events were meaningful in the ministry’s goal to celebrate international Girls in ICT Day, as mandated by the ITU. 

“We reflect on this to realise the enthusiasm and skill demonstrated by young women and girls,” he added, noting that it’s in line with the MDG3 which seeks to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Mr Jones went on to quote the UN secretary general, Ban KI Moon, as saying that ‘equality for women and girls is not only a basic human right, it is a social and economic imperative. Where women are educated and empowered, economies are more productive.’

International Girls in ICT Day is an annual event that was set aside by the International Telecommunication Union, ITU in 2010. The purpose of International girls in ICT Day is to mainstream gender equality within ICT. This is the fourth time girls in The Gambia are celebrating Girls ICT Day. The first three events were managed by the Information Technology Association of The Gambia, ITAG. This is the first time the ministry of information is spear-heading the campaign. The day is celebrated every fourth Thursday of every April.

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