ICT and Girls Empowerment

December 12, 2007 | By | Reply More

As in many developing nations, girls in Bangladesh are still not enjoying equal educational, The capacity of girls to take advantage of the new technologies as tools for empowerment is restricted by socio-economic and cultural factors.economic, and social opportunities. ICT has opened up a new door of opportunities for girls in Bangladesh. Girls need to access to ICT for the same reasons as boys. They need to learn ICT skills for their educational achievements, personal development, and employment opportunities. However, the capacity of girls to take advantage of the new technologies as tools for empowerment is restricted by socio-economic and cultural factors.

Development experts remarked these in the conference named ICT and Girls Empowerment. Relief International-Schools Online, a US based INGO in partnership with Democracy Watch organized the day-long event today at 10 am on 12 December 2007 at BIAM Auditorium in Dhaka.

The conference is a part of Global Connections and Exchange Project (GCE) which is being implemented in Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Palestine and USA by Relief International-Schools Online with major supports from the Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau (ECA) of the US State Department, HP Foundation, USA and Global Catalyst Foundation, USA. The GCE program promotes mutual understanding and enduring ties among schools, teachers and students across borders, and provides communities with access to information, exposure to ICT and opportunities for participation in public life. The GCE project has set up internet enabled computer centers in 27 schools across Bangladesh. Of 27 schools, 5 are girls’ school, 5 boys school, 17 co education school, 2 madrasa (religious school) and 1 school for visually impaired youth. Details of the project can be found at www.connect-bangladesh.org

Speakers stressed that development practitioners, policy makers and the mass people must consider ICT education for girls seriously because without their participation the IT sector will be lagging behind; in addition women emancipation is not possible until they will remain far off from the digital education.

Ms. Taleya Rehman, Executive Director of Democracy Watch and the Chief Guest at the conference stressed on the need to learn English to take the benefits of ICT and to actively participate in the online based collaborations. She said that English is one of the prerequisites to learn ICT skills. She mentioned that using the new ICT such as internet girls in rural areas will be able to connect them to the world and learn valuable life skills which will eventually enhance their employment opportunities.

Mr. Harvey W. Sernovitz, Deputy Director of American Center in Dhaka said that GCE projects create a sense of empowerment for youth who might otherwise have a difficult time affirming themselves and showcasing their talent and potential. Often, GCE online and service activities are the first occasions for youth to be leaders, trainers and innovators in their schools and communities. Acquiring technological skills also puts youth in a better position to participate in the national and global economies, hence providing them with more opportunities and stronger voices.

The daylong conference was vibrating with enthusiasms and wide participation of schoolgirls from across Bangladesh who participate in a various online and offline activities through the Global Connections and Exchange Program-Bangladesh. Presentations of individuals were unique in terms of their quality performance and innovation, and mind-boggling group discussions and team works brainstormed many of participants. The conference showcased some ICT innovations and projects which are so effective in empowering girls via ICTs.

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Category: ICT for Development, Rural Women

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  1. shakib says:

    We should integrate ICT for a multifarious reasons in this information rich age. However the collaboration of ICT with US state department, an agency that is faced with a budget cut approved by congress in reducing its educational and cultural programs world wide while pushing for democracy through military means in other parts of the world is consequential in a second tier country like Bangladesh. ICT integration in the low end of the digital divide is not only cost intensive but is highly technology centred most of which is tied to state departments economic and political interest in the recipient country. I am particularly interested in the ramifications of the projects when the funds will dry up due to the failure of the ‘NO child left behind policies’ of the Bush administration which has been recently taunted at home as part of ‘bush family businesses’ which profits only the manufacturers of computers and certain privileged classes. I am not against ICT integration in our rural centers which needs to be jacked up with the information super highways. I am certainly in favour of promoting local entreprises that benefit the adaptation of global knowledge into local realities and vice versa as VAS based in NJ has demonstrated so far, collaborating with RIB, Dnet and Grameen phone. However when selecting partners in this global world we need to be careful as whose interests are we going to serve in the end.

  2. Jharna Roy says:

    Dear Shakib,

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    Jharna Roy

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