Empowering Women

Information and communications technology is a thriving industry with several opportunities for women. Yet according to Judith Owigar, a founding member of Akirachix, a training and mentorship program aiming to increase the number of girls in the technology sector, women in the developing world don’t seek this industry due to reasons like cultural barriers.

“ICT is a growing industry and it’s hiring a lot of people,” she told Africa Renewal’s Jocelyne Sambira in an interview. “Many girls have not taken advantage of this opportunity due to various reasons such as cultural barriers. Others do not have the minimum education required or they just don’t think ICT is their thing. We need more women to seize these opportunities because it can improve their lives.”

Akirachix prepares many women to start their own businesses. The organization states, “technology empowers the people who use it to create solutions for themselves.”

Not only is it important for gender-equality purposes to encourage women’s participation in ICT, but also for working women to invest their incomes in areas that have fundamental implications for development.

For instance, ONE is an organization advocating for poverty eradication and claims that women invest 90 percent of their earned income on their families. The organization also writes that a survey of women in the developing world showcases that 75 percent of women use the Internet to further their education.

Helena Contes of One policy claims that providing training in technology skills for women is vital to diminishing the digital divide. She states that empowering women begins with a holistic approach to the problem, and by introducing women to technology at a younger age.

Addressing the digital divide can help when dealing with social and economic inequalities and accelerating development. Technology provides a channel for learning and creativity, and is an essential tool for ensuring women’s progress in all spheres of daily life.

Mayra Vega

Sources: U.N., Pew Global, Akirachix
Photo: Flickr

Information and Communications Technology, or ICT for short, is the way of the future for non-government organizations (NGOs). By effectively using new ICT, all types of NGOs are becoming more efficient in how they track and record data, as well as plan for future projects.

This new technology breaks down the complexity of information that NGOs handle on a daily basis and helps format it in a way that makes it simpler for these groups to utilize in their future endeavors.

Information and Communications Technology encompasses all sorts of specific fields. It covers things such as radio, television, cellular phones, and computer technology.

By using ICT, NGOs can spread their messages more efficiently through a wider array of platforms, develop better on-site technologies in third-world countries, and establish long-term methods to record information on poverty levels around the world.

An article by the Dhaka Tribune delved into the many benefits that ICT brings with it for non-government organizations. An excerpt from this article, published on July 31, 2015, reads, “Using ICT for social development helps NGOs to have accessible, timely, relevant, and updated information to make on-time decisions and improve social policy.”

The article goes on to pose a scenario in which an NGO makes monthly visits to an area to provide villagers with resources and other aid.

The scenario focuses on two children who received inadequate amounts of milk based on their growth in between visits from the NGO. When ICT is instituted into this scenario, the NGO workers can enter into their phones the exact height, weight, and age of the children each visit in order to chart growth and provide the necessary amount of food and aid.

Today’s society is all about maximizing efficiency. Technology has evolved faster in this period of time than at any other point in history. With this evolution comes the betterment of all mankind. By using technology as a means to maximize the eradication of poverty, people all over the world can begin to feel hopeful that their lives are about to change.

Diego Catala

Sources: Dhaka Tribune, Tech Target
Photo: Dhaka Tribune

Does your computer process slowly? Are you in need of new software? These are two common reasons why people dispose of computers and laptops. Although they are still in working order, they are tossed away in garbage bins. Is there a sustainable solution? Camara Education thinks so.

Camara Education is dedicated to improving literacy and believes everyone deserves quality education. They collect technology such as computers, keyboards, tablets and smartphones and donate them to developing countries. They hope that by improving education, these communities will be able to lift themselves out of poverty.

Founded in Dublin, Ireland in 2005, Camara Education has been highly successful. Because of their efforts, around 1 million children have had access to technology in classrooms. In the last 10 years, they have shipped 62,000 computers to countries in need.

The organization has donated eLearning centers to over 2,000 schools in Ireland, Africa and the Caribbean. They have installed 40,000 computers, trained over 11,000 teachers to use technology in classrooms and are currently in operation in Jamaica and seven countries in Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Lesotho, Tanzania and Zambia. They also have headquarters in the U.S. and U.K.

Camara Education believes that technology can open up an entirely new world of information for students and teachers. For this reason, they believe it is essential that all children have access to computers and information and communications technology (ICT).

This year, they plan to provide approximately 3,500 computers to students in Kenya.

“There’s no way the schools could afford this on their own,” Chief Technology Officer of Camara Education for Africa Aseidas Blauvelt says. “They could buy from their informal market, but they’d have no guarantee anything would work, they wouldn’t have training from us and they wouldn’t have a server.”

The team members erase all data from donated computers, keeping all personal information safe. The hard drive is wiped using a U.S. Department of Defense program, which makes it impossible to retrieve any data.

Recently, Camara Education has partnered with the Ministry of Education in Zambia to integrate technology and ICT into schools. On July 16, Camara Education in Dublin sent 1,110 computers to Lusaka, Zambia. With this new shipment, the organization has sent over 11,000 computers to Zambia.

CEO of Camara Education in Zambia says, “There is a strong demand from educational institutions for Camara services. Camara Zambia has been working with the Ministry of Education here to expand our reach to schools. The government this year added Computer Studies to the curriculum for grade 8 and 9 students, so there is much more interest in ICT and education.”

Ultimately, the Ministry of Education and Camara Education hope that the technology will teach valuable tech, communication and learning skills, alleviate poverty in Zambia and promote a prosperous and educated society.

Instead of throwing out old computers, visit to donate and find drop-off locations.

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Camara 1, Camara 2, Camara 3, LinkedIn
Photo: Camara