Microsoft, Tech4dev graduate 450 women coders in Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo
by JOSEPHINE OKOJIE
March 5, 2018 | 3:46 pm| | | Start Conversation
In a bid to bridge the gender gap in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem and empower women to be self-reliant and employable, Tech4dev and Microsoft partner to graduate 450 women coders from the Nigerian Women Techsters (NWT) first cohort training program.
The graduation was also to mark the 2018 International Women’s Day with the theme ‘#PressforProgress and #MakeWhatsNext.
Olusola Amusan, philanthropy lead at Microsoft Nigeria reiterated that Microsoft believes that empowering women in STEM fields drives economic growth, equality and innovation.
“We want to create a culture where more women are attracted to the STEM fields and believe in themselves as having a career path in the technology industry,” Amusan said.
“Despite the statistics, a new generation of ‘girl geeks’ are making a real mark on the technology sector and propelling the economic growth of their countries forward, like Senegalese, Mariéme Jamme, CEO of IT organisation, SpotOne. We need more female leaders like this. It is hard enough to navigate a career path without a mentor, particularly without female mentors in STEM that can act as ambassadors for young women” he added.
Tech4devis, a non-profit social enterprise that seeks to create proactive and reactive technological solutions to help solve the world’s greatest problems, backed by Microsoft, came up with the NWT, an initiative that is aimed at helping young women between the ages of 18-40 get the right training and support needed to acquire coding skills.
While speaking at the graduation event, Laide Ajanaku, communications lead, Tech4dev, said “we hope to be able to meet with other people from other nations who are passionate about leveraging ICT to better the lot of women in their communities and share our ultimate goal with them,”
“The project is set for a period of three years during which Tech4Dev as well as other supporting agencies intend to take the programme to other African counties thereby giving African women an opportunity to develop themselves,” Ajanaku said.
The training in the first cohort began in last year in Ondo state and subsequently in Ekiti and Oyo states. The women were trained in the three training tracks of web and mobile applications development, embedded systems and games development as well as an online business training module.
The event featured keynote addresses from Kiitan Aboluwarin, project lead, SeedDev and Ronke Thompson of the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
Both speakers stressed the importance of creating an enabling environment for women to thrive in the tech ecosystem.
While Aboluwarin admonished participants to never get too comfortable but to constantly seek knowledge, Thompson encouraged beneficiaries of the programme to think themselves activists for other women henceforth by pressing for improved conditions and access to development training.
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