Wednesday 11 December, 2019

VIDEO: Girls create ICT tools to increase safe zones in Barbados

Girls and mentors at the ICT Day hackathon at UWI Cave Hill School of Business.

Girls and mentors at the ICT Day hackathon at UWI Cave Hill School of Business.

Nine teams of girls from 11 schools including two tertiary institutions created technological tools to make homes, streets, relationships and web spaces safe for females.

With guidance from mentors who are women in tech, the 42 girls made ICT tools to help females combat issues in four areas. The themes issued by the Challenge Master Gillian Hassell were #HomeSafe #StreetSafe #RelationshipSafe and #CyberSafe.


Each group was encouraged to highlight an issue under one theme, and create a solution which could mitigate, prevent or eliminate the problem while informing and educating. Then they had to discuss and formulate their pitch to present their product to the panel of judges. Coming out of the presentations were solutions for cyberbullying, domestic abuse, girls going missing, and more.

Trepidation may have laced their actions at first when placed into groups at random, but after three and a half hours of collaboration and brainstorming, the team members were liaising and chatting like long-time friends. They were quickly bouncing ideas off each other and playing up to each other strengths.

By the deadline around 2:30 pm, the nail-biting habits had been replaced by smiles, laughter, friendly bickering and words of encouragement. All the “I don’t know” comments had transitioned into “You know that part”; “That’s your thing”; “You take that part” and more, as they motivated each participant to give of their best.

The Featured Speaker for the Barbados-leg of the second edition of the Girls in ICT Day Caribbean Hackathon, Irene Sandiford-Garner asked the girls to own the field of technology. She told them not to embrace the perception that technology is for males, to “challenge the status quo” and make it a thing of the past. “You belong to this career!”

And they rose to the occasion.

The judges and girls were blown away by the presentations as they saw innovative websites and apps come to life before their eyes, from concepts and ideas which they had throughout the course of one ICT Day. The students were from Graydon Sealy Secondary School, The Lodge School, The St. Michael School, Deighton Griffith Secondary School, Springer Memorial School, Queen’s College, Harrison College, Lester Vaughan Secondary School, the Barbados Community College and the University of the West Indies.

The students were also encouraged to jump into the tech field by the Representative of UN Women (Multi-country office), Alison McLean; Director of Business Support, Scotiabank Barbados, Kim Stanton; and Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, Cave Hill Campus, UWI, V. Eudine Barriteau. 

In partnership with sponsors such as Scotiabank, CIBC FirstCaribbean, Loop, Google, Tropical Computers, WeXport and others, woman-led SheLeadsIT and Change Makers Development Ltd. staged this second edition, under the theme #SafeGirlsSafeFuture.

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