W.TEC's Girl Advisory Council
We hope that you and your loved ones are all fine and staying safe and healthy.
This year has been one of continuous adaptation and change. We have not been able to implement any of our programmes in the ways that we planned. However with flexibility, perseverance and good humour, we have been able to roll with the punches.
The pandemic lockdowns were gradually eased over the last few months, but physical distancing restrictions and safety caps on the sizes of physical meetings has meant that W.TEC has continued to work from home and our programmes have continued to be offered online.
Notwithstanding, W.TEC organised the first virtual W.TEC Academy. Read below on this programme and our other activities.
Please read below to see what we have been up to:
W.TEC recognised as a WSIS 2020 Champion
Organised the 1st virtual She Creates Next Camp
Moved the W.TEC Academy (afterschool clubs) online
Completed the Virtual Maker Space pilot phase
Instituted our Girl Advisory Council
Published Gender & Technology factsheets and infographs
a.) Recognised as a WSIS 2020 Champion
W.TEC is pleased to have been selected as a 2020 WSIS Champion in Category 3 (Access to Information and Knowledge).
The WSIS Prizes contest was developed in response to requests from the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) stakeholders to create an effective mechanism to evaluate projects and activities that leverage the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to advance sustainable development.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 edition of the WSIS Forum went completely virtual.
W.TEC was recognised as a Champion for our work giving Nigerian girls and women the skills, knowledge and opportunity to participate equitably in the information and digital society.
This years WSIS Champions had the opportunity to give messages of appreciation and share stories from their work during a special interactive session organised with the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Mr. Houlin Zhao.
W.TEC’s Executive Director, Ms. Oreoluwa Lesi thanked WSIS for their recognition of our work and highlighted key facts about the gender gap in technology, which emphasises the big work that still needs to be done to improve women’s ability to participate in and contribute effectively to the global information society.
Photos from the session can be viewed here: https://www.itu.int/net4/wsis/forum/2020/Agenda/Session/372
The video recording of the session can be viewed here (Oreoluwa Lesi’s remarks start from 19:58): https://web.facebook.com/WSISprocess/videos/319907055899370
b.) Organised the 1st virtual She Creates Next Camp
W.TEC’s flagship programme is the annual residential She Creates Camp. It provides a high quality and exciting environment where girls learn to create useful technologies for everyday living. As a result of the pandemic, W.TEC has decided to convert this to a virtual camp this year.
Our first virtual camp for girls tagged She Creates Next has come and gone. Over the 4 weeks, the participants learnt mobile apps design, video editing, python programming and Website design.
According to a participant who built a website for herself during the class indicated that with her new skills she can build a website for her blog and possibly establish her own website development company.
Upon completion of the programme, the camp was rounded-off with an online graduation ceremony with participants in attendance alongside their parents. During the programme, the Executive Director Mrs Oreoluwa Lesi in her welcome address highlighted the innovative edge of the virtual camp to the participants and their parents.
The online ceremony featured presentations by participants on all what they have learnt during the camp. Parents also shared heartwarming impact stories of the children. According to one of the parents: “The camp has made my daughter have a good advantage in both learning and the possibility to making money with her new skills. I will surely recommend the camp to everyone’’.
Although we missed the face-to-face aspect of our camp, the online format provided the opportunity for participants from across the world to join in the camp.
Learn more about the 2020 She Creates Camp: https://wtec.org.ng/more-about-she-creates-2020/ and read the press release: https://wtec.org.ng/w-tec-holds-her-first-virtual-camp-for-girls-she-creates-next-camp/
c.) Moved the W.TEC Academy (afterschool clubs) online
The W.TEC Academy made a big comeback with a series of new online classes. The W.TEC Academy is an afterschool technology club for girls currently held in select secondary schools across Kwara and Ogun States. The programme, sponsored by Oracle and the Dr. Abi A. Afonja Trust, had 500 girls enrolled for its weekly classes before the outbreak of the pandemic.
When the Academy resumed online, it was with unfortunately the much lower number of 27 due to limited access to the Internet and Internet-enabled devices.
The session started with a revision of the last term’s work, before moving onto Graphic Design with Canva and Web Design with HTML
The Academy was organised on the Zoom platform, supported by WhatsApp groups.
Read more: https://wtec.org.ng/the-return-of-w-tec-academy/
d.) Completed the Virtual Maker Space pilot phase
In June, W.TEC launched a new programme called the MakeHer Space, modelled on traditional maker spaces. While this was planned as a hands–on programme, we had to re-design it to be delivered online. Through the twice-weekly online sessions, the young women learned to create technology and engineering-based solutions to solve problems in their communities.
The re-imagined virtual MakerHer Space featured a rich curriculum that included Website Development, 3D Design and Modelling, Problem-Solving and Market Research.
Trying to re-create a maker space online was not without it challenges. Some of the challenges experienced included:
Poor Internet connection and power supply – an unstable internet connection or lack of electricity discouraged some of the students to attend online learning sessions.
Different interfaces of the apps being learnt on the students’ different devices and operating software. This made it difficult to develop uniform learning content and screenshots for the girls.
Some students joining class late or some students are shy to speak up
The challenges notwithstanding, the MakerHer Space welcomed students from across the African continent.
You can also learn more about the MakerHer Space project here: https://wtec.org.ng/make-her-space/
e.) Instituted our Girl Advisory Council
W.TEC was so pleased to institute the pioneer set of the newly-inaugurated Girl Advisory Council.
The W.TEC Girls Advisory Council comprises of a group of select girls (alumnae of W.TEC programmes) nominated to work as an advisory group to partner with W.TEC staff members on activities ranging from programme development to research and publicity.
The GAC members will also have the opportunity to make recommendations to and share their ideas with W.TEC’s Board of Trustees and Advisory Board members. By facilitating youth-adult partnership, these leadership opportunities allow GAC members to influence decision-making processes in the organisation. This represents another step towards ensuring that W.TEC’s leadership team is representative of the target beneficiaries of our programmes. By having our beneficiaries represented, we look forward to designing programmes that better meet their needs.
The inaugural Council is made-up of 7 W.TEC alumnae, who have attended the She Creates Camp over the years since 2008.
Read more about our Girl Advisory Council: https://wtec.org.ng/meet-our-new-girls-advisory-council/
f.) W.TEC Published Gender & Technology Factsheets and Infographs
In August, W.TEC published two factsheets and articles:
1. “The Girls & Tech Factsheet” Infographic Sheet and Findings Article (2020)
2. “The Women & Tech Factsheet” Infographic Sheet and Findings Article (2020)
The factsheets and articles explain why we need more girls in Technology and related fields. Multiple studies and reports highlight the under-representation of women and girls working in and studying STEM subjects.
These factsheets pulled together key statistics on the national and global level. It is challenging finding data for Nigeria and by researching and publishing these figures, W.TEC is proud to make a much-needed contribution to shining a light on the depth of the STEM gap in Nigeria.
Download the factsheets here: https://wtec.org.ng/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/The-Tech-Woman-and-Work-4.pdf and https://wtec.org.ng/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Girls-Technology-7-1.pdf
This has certainly been a most unexpected quarter for us. Despite all the challenges, we are determined to keep innovating and adapting to our new reality, so that we can continue to serve all girls and young women.
Thank you for supporting and sharing our work. Because of you, we have been able to increase our reach and improve the quality of our programming.
Please continue to donate to our work. Also consider becoming a recurring donor and setting-up automatic monthly payments to us. We especially need your support at this time.
Together, we can keep working to build a pipeline that supports girls and women throughout their journeys from early engagement to a career in technology and sciences. We thank you and our girls thank you too.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
ABOUT W.TEC & THE W.TEC ACADEMY:
The W.TEC Academy is an after-school technology programme for girls in public secondary schools, designed to inspire girls to pursue computer science careers. The girls go through a year-long computing curriculum, which includes Computer Architecture & Networking, Scratch Programming, Alice Programming and Digital Arts.
The Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) is a Nigerian nonprofit organisation committed to building a more inclusive technology ecosystem, with the next generation of women technology creators, entrepreneurs and leaders.
The Girls & Tech Factsheet
MakeHer Space Pilot