Tuesday 7 July, 2020

 Caribbean girls to ‘hack’ for a safer future

(Image: Girls at last year's hackathon)

(Image: Girls at last year's hackathon)

Over 800 girls across five Caribbean countries, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will come together for an immersive experience in technology in celebration of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Girls in ICT Day, on Thursday, April 26, 2018.

Following the ground-breaking first Girls in ICT Day Caribbean Hackathon in 2017, woman-led SheLeadsIT and Change Makers Development Ltd. will stage the 2nd edition, under the theme #SafeGirlsSafeFuture.

The Hackathon is a technology for good initiative which provides high school and tertiary level students with an interactive and hands-on experience in the use of digital skills to solve social challenges. A day-long immersion in ICTs, the Hackathon will give the girls and young women, an opportunity to envision themselves, not only as users of technology, but creators.

In Trinidad and Tobago, 26 participating institutions from across the island, including: Naparima Girl’s High School, St. Francois Girls College, Coryal Secondary School, Vessigny Secondary School, Mason Hall Secondary, Tobago, University of the West Indies as well as 2017 winners, Chaguanas North Secondary, will come together at the Ministry of Planning’s Global Services Internationalisation Hub, Tamana InTech Park.

Recognising the need for a technologically savvy, gender-balanced workforce, the event is supported by several private and public sector entities. Regional sponsors and partners include Scotiabank, LOOP, Google and the University of the West Indies. Local sponsors include Massy Technologies, KCL Investments and the Ministry of Planning and Development with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).

“To produce a versatile Caribbean workforce capable of navigating the ongoing digital revolution we must get more women involved. In the next 10 years, 80% of jobs will require a blend of STEM. We believe it’s critical to engage women earlier in the pipeline to bridge the digital gender divide,” said Bridget Lewis, Co-Founder of SheLeadsIT.

This year, with an increased focus on upskilling both the ‘hacker’ girls and the observers, a series of pre-event webinars are taking place, which focus on the various ICT activities the girls will be participating in during the Hackathon.

“We are thrilled to have Google as our regional technical partner facilitating a number of our training webinars and providing mentorship support. In collaboration with local partners iCreate and GeoTech Vision we will be covering an exciting range of topics including, fundamentals of filmmaking, design thinking, web and mobile app development, geo-spatial (drone) technology, podcasting, gaming and animation” said Nicole Pitter Patterson, Co-Founder of SheLeadsIT.

The Hackathon is one of thousands of events happening worldwide in celebration of Girls in ICT Day, which aims to create a global environment that encourages, educates and empowers girls to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and ultimately launch their careers in ICT.

“With this exciting hands-on event, where several local, regional and international role model tech speakers will give inspirational messages of support via video stream, we hope to inspire the girls with the confidence to chart their own course in a more dynamic and gender-balanced technology sector” said Samantha Chantrelle, Managing Director of Change Makers.

Members of the public, worldwide, will be able to view the speaker presentations and the day’s happenings, by logging on to the ITU portal URL: http://www.itu.int/girlsinict

With its target group of 15-22 year-olds, the Girls in ICT Day Caribbean Hackathon is focused on ensuring that Caribbean girls and young women will be ready for a career in ICT long before they get to an office!


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