International Girls in ICT Day 2017 is just around the corner! Celebrated every year on the 4th Thursday of April, Girls in ICT Day is the international day to inspire girls around the world to discover opportunities in information and communication technologies (ICTs). This year, Girls in ICT Day will be celebrated on 27 April!
Since we launched Girls in ICT Day, we have seen over 240,000 girls and young women take part in more than 7,200 celebrations in 160 countries worldwide. As we gear up for another exciting year, here are five tips for planning a Girls in ICT Day event:
- Fun, hands-on workshops
International Girls in ICT Day is about trying something new and learning more about the opportunities offered by the ICT sector. Hands-on workshops are a great way to introduce a new topic such as blogging, coding, robotics, or game design in a fun and engaging manner.
For example, in 2016, UNHCR and Vodafone Foundation organized an Instant Network Schools (INS) technology workshop. Over a five-day programme, participating girls worked in teams to learn how to develop webpages through HTML and CSS, how to use 3D modelling software like Google Sketch Up, how to programme through Scratch and Arduino as well as basic notions of digital photography and video production. During the last day of the celebration, each team showcased their projects and prizes were awarded for the best projects.
These are just a few ideas for workshops. The Girls in ICT Day Toolkit includes more ideas for workshops including mobile app building, animation and gaming, digital music making, coding, robotics, digital art and video production and many more.
- Organize competitions
Contests, games, competitions and prizes are interactive and fun ways to engage girls in ICT-related activities. Since the launch of International Girls in ICT Day we have seen some awesome ideas emerge from competitions.
The Ministry of Information Society and Telecommunications in Montenegro last year organized a graphic design competition awarding tablet computers to the winners; in 2016 in UAE, girls participated in a PC Build-A-Thon with prizes for the fastest teams at the event organized by the Higher Colleges of Technologies. And last year, the Technovation challenge in Cameroon saw teams of young girls identify a problem, create a mobile app to solve it, code the app, build a company to launch the app in the market, and pitch their plan.
Competitions and contests are a sure way to engage girls at your event, but don’t forget to arrange for prizes by reaching out early to sponsors for devices that could be given as awards. In Girls in ICT Day events around the world, girls have been awarded with mobile phones, smart phones, tablets, laptops, laptop bags, and many other technology related items.
- Invite role models
International Girls in ICT Day is also a day to meet mentors and role models, which can help spark the interest of young girls. As Geena Davis, ITU’s special envoy for women and girls in ICT famously says: “If she can see it, she can be it.”
You can invite female ICT professionals to share information about their career paths, professional and personal life, and why they think ICTs are interesting. You can also screen messages from our selection of inspirational videos.
- Host a career fair or open day
One of the reasons why girls don’t choose careers in ICT is that they often lack knowledge about the various kinds of jobs that ICTs offer. International Girls in ICT Day is a great opportunity to change this by showcasing various ICT professions and widening girls’ knowledge about the field.
Last year, the Bangladesh Women in IT and Bangladesh Open Source Network hosted a 10-day programme for International Girls in ICT Day, which included career fairs and open days at IT and technology companies in four districts across the country. Over 1,500 girls took part to learn more about ICT careers. In Jamaica, the Office of Utilities Regulation, organized an exhibition inviting top local IT companies as well as local universities and introducing participating girls to the vast opportunities available in the ICT sector.
- Join the global effort
Organizing an event for International Girls in ICT Day is a chance to join in the global celebration for girls in tech.
By: Dr. Kemal Huseinovic, Chief of the Infrastructure, Enabling Environment and E-Applications Department (IEE), ITU.