On 23rd April 2015, Uganda joined other member states of the International Telecommunications Union (I.T.U) in celebrating the international Girls in ICT day.
Uganda Communications Commission (U.C.C) in conjunction with Women in Technology Uganda (WITU) and Hive Colab organized the event under the global theme “Expanding Horizons, Changing Attitudes.” The event took place at the U.C.C head office in Bugolobi.
The day started with the arrival of pupils and students of select primary and secondary schools at the U.C.C offices. They were then briefed by the organizing committee and whisked to visit the tech departments of two leading companies; New Vision and Airtel Uganda.
The primary school pupils were taken to visit the New vision offices while the Secondary school students were taken to Airtel Uganda. While touring these companies, the students interacted with tech professionals who shared vital information with them. They got a feel of what it’s like to be in a tech environment. The girls were so thrilled by all the tech stuff they were seeing; it is no wonder that many were reluctant to head back to UCC for lunch and the afternoon session.
After a delicious lunch, it was time to join the university students, recent graduates and young working ladies in ICT for panel discussions. As part of the event, women role models from select tech companies in the country gave motivational talks to the students on emerging career areas in ICT.
Access Mobile’s Lynn Asiimwe shared her tech journey with the girls. She talked to the young women about being aggressive while seeking opportunities in the job market. She also encouraged them to do personal projects that they can use to show case their ability to develop software.
The MD Laboremus, Lucrezia Biteete encouraged the girls to “Focus on the new technologies and become more attractive on the job network.” She also put emphasis on acquisition of management skills because “Women make the best project managers”
ThoughtWorks’ lead Project Manager Bbira Kafumbe talked to the girls about merging ICTs with business and motherhood. She also shared about her experiences working in a tech field and the challenges of working and studying abroad.
Dr. Nora Mulira a board member of UCC started her talk with a quote from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that says “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 and strong. Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable”
She also pointed out that the British conquered the world because of the technology they had at that time. They used that technology to build steam ships. Today technology is that steamship. And just like the steam ships were vital for the British to conquer their colonies, technology too is that important. Therefore women should utilize this time to get involved in building new technology or else we’ll be left behind.
The day ended with a panel discussion where the young women got to ask questions, discuss issues and opportunities in the tech market. UCC and Laboremus shared internships and job opportunities available in their organizations for University students and fresh graduates.