New technologies in the information and communications field are ushering in a new age. Yet, access to new ICTs is still a faraway reality for the vast majority of people, particularly those that are the most vulnerable. Rural and marginalized areas have largely been left out of the information revolution due to a wide range of barriers including absence of basic infrastructure and training, as well as lack of demonstrated benefit of ICTs in addressing development challenges. These barriers pose even greater problems for women and girls, who, more often than not, lack opportunities for training in digital skills.
IamtheCODE is an African-led global movement to mobilize governments, private sector and investors to advance STEAMED (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, and Design) Education. The organisation empowers the most marginalized individuals to discover their potential and new frontiers, through engaging with STEM & the more expansive STEAMED subjects, with the aim of equipping youth girls to understand and participate in the digital world by writing their own code.
Since 2012, the International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on the 11th of October. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face while promoting girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. Across the world, girls face adversities that hinder their education, training and entry into the workforce.They have less access to information, communication technology and resources, such as the internet where the global gender gap is growing.
UN Women in collaboration with the IamtheCode movement, UNICEF, UNHCR and Unilever, celebrated the first time ever International Day of the Girl in Kakuma Refugee Camp on October 11th, 2018. Under the theme With Her: A Skilled GirlForce, International Day of the Girl will mark the beginning of a year-long effort to bring together partners and stakeholders to advocate for, and draw attention and investments to, the most pressing needs and opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability.
“. Being a refugee is not my name, it is not written on my back. Yes am a refugee, but it will not stop me from doing what I can.”
The celebrations were held at Angelina Jolie primary school in Kakuma Refuge Camp. The event was attended by UNHCR, LWF, Film Aid, RAS, 120 Girls from Angelina Jolie primary school, Our Lady’s Girls School and Morneau Shepell Primary School, parents and Teachers Association, parents and teachers from the three schools and representation from Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, youth and village leaders.
Following the celebration, the girls had an opportunity to learn about the global goals. An interactive session was held where the girls brainstormed and made preliminary presentations on the SDGs and there after interacted the with Kano computers donated by IamtheCode movement.
15 kano computers were thereafter donated to Angelina Jolie primary schools by the IamtheCode movement.
‘Her Turn’, a new report from UNCHR (2017) reveals that refugee girls at secondary level are only half as likely to enrol in schools as their male counterparts, even though girls make up half of the school-age refugee population around the world. Access to education is a fundamental human right. Yet, for millions of women and girls among the world’s growing refugee population, education remains an aspiration, not a reality, more so for digital literacy.
ICTs have created new economic and social opportunities the world over. The positive changes brought about by ICTs, however, have not touched all of humanity. Their use continues to be governed by existing power relations where women frequently experience relative disadvantage. Amidst this inequality, there are opportunities for change through the collaborative efforts of organisations that work towards closing the digital gender divide. The continued collaboration between IamtheCODE and UN Women presents such an opportunity – to transfer ditigal literacy to girls in the most marginalized of backgrounds in Kenya.
As part of this collaboration, and on the side lines of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV, UN Women is planning a field mission to Samburu to monitor the progress of the girls who attended the Hackerthon in Nairobi in August 2018. IamtheCODE and UN Women are currently elaborating the proposal for the field mission to Samburu which will be shared with Senior Management for review and input.