Let me start this off by saying that I hope you and your loved ones are all fine and staying safe and healthy.
After an incredible 2019 and a fast start off the blocks in January, 2020 has turned out to be completely different from what any of us could have imagined.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a landmark occurrence and turned life around for us all. Some of us may have lost loved ones and, on behalf of the W.TEC Board, Management and Team, I extend my condolences.
In Nigeria, many states have been under a lockdown on physical movement since the last week of March.
For us at W.TEC, we transited into working online from home. At the same time, we have had to re-design as many of our programmes to online programmes. We have also made the difficult decision to suspend some activities that unfortunately cannot be delivered online at the moment.
Please read below to see what we have been up to:
Selected as a WSIS 2020 Champion
Featured on BBC Africa
Preparing for the She Creates Next Camp (a virtual version of our annual residential She Creates Camp)
Developing Virtual Maker Space
Celebrated International Girls in ICT Day
Launched Alumna Network webinar series
Commemorated International Women’s Day
Organised a panel discussion at the 2020 Social Media Week Lagos
a.) Selected as a WSIS 2020 Champion
The WSIS Prizes contest was developed by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to evaluate projects and activities that leverage the power of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to advance sustainable development. Since inception, the contest of WSIS Prizes has attracted hundreds of thousands of stakeholders.
Out of 776 projects submitted by the WSIS Stakeholders’ community and a review of more than 2 million votes cast, W.TEC emerged as one of the five WSIS Champions in Category 3 (Access to information and knowledge).
Later this year, the Champions will be recognized by the WSIS community at the WSIS Prizes 2020 Ceremony slated for Geneva.
Read more: https://twitter.com/WSISprocess/status/1240658480568184832
b.) Featured on BBC Africa
The BBC Africa featured W.TEC's work. It was a great honour to have our work showcased on such a global platform.
W.TEC’s Executive Director, Oreoluwa Lesi, as well as two of our alumnae were featured..
Watch the feature: https://twitter.com/BBCAfrica/status/1256630826617495558?s=19
c.) Preparing for the 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 through programming, mobile application development, graphics designing, film-making and digital animation programming. This helps schoolgirls develop an early interest in computer science, information technology and related careers.
As a result of the pandemic, W.TEC has decided to convert this to a virtual camp this year. Activities will include online classes and other fun activities, such as career talks by speakers from across the world. Although we will miss welcoming the girls to our cosy camp facility, we are excited to explore the prospects that this new platform will bring. We especially look forward to opportunities for deeper global engagement for the girls.
Learn more about the She Creates Camp: https://wtec.org.ng/programme/she-creates-camp/
d.) Developing Virtual Maker Space
We will be launching a new programme called the MakeHer Space, modelled on traditional maker spaces. This is a hands–on programme, designed to equip young womenwith the skills to create technology and engineering-based solutions that will solve problems in their communities. The pilot of the MakerHer Space was scheduled for April, but with Lagos State locked down from the last week of March, we had to postpone it.
Since then, we have re-imagined the MakerHer Space as a “virtual maker space.” In preparation for the new launch, we hosted some test classes online in May. You can learn how these test classes went.
You can also learn more about the MakerHer Space project here: https://wtec.org.ng/make-her-space/
e.) Celebrated International Girls in ICT Day
The International Girls in ICT Day is set-aside every last Thursday of April by the International Telecommunications Union to celebrate and create awareness of the lack of women in technology.
W.TEC celebrated this day with a webinar organised in partnership with COMPSUDEV – Cameroon.
Since all our W.TEC beneficiaries are either engaged in online learning or unable to learn because their schools lack the digital infrastructure for this, the focus of the webinar was:
• Online learning platforms to ensure that their education & learning does not stop during the pandemic
• Strategies to stay motivated when studying online
Our guest speaker was Ms. Pierrette Akumawah Nanga, the Head of ICT at COMPSUDEV in Cameroon. She gave an engaging talk on tools that girls can use to keep learning from home.
W.TEC’s Research and Development Officer, Ms. Tarere Eyimina, talked to the participants about ways to stay motivated when learning online.
Read more about the event: https://wtec.org.ng/wtec-celebrates-girls-in-ict-day-2020/
f.) Launched Alumna Network webinar series
Participants of W.TEC’s programmes graduate into the W.TEC Alumna Network. This network provides ongoing learning and mentoring opportunities, activities such as annual reunions and access to dedicated member-only mailing lists and social media channels, where career and other development information will be disseminated.
Starting from April, we launched the virtual platform for the Alumna Network. Via online channels, our alumna will be engaged regularly by W.TEC to forge a lasting synergy with them and sustain an ongoing engagement with them.
We kicked this off with 2 webinars: a virtual hangout and a webinar on study strategies.
Some of our alumna have volunteered on our programmes, facilitating and assisting in classes and workshops. We look forward to a deeper level of collaboration with them in the future.
Learn more: https://wtec.org.ng/wtecalumnaenetworkengagement/
g.) Commemorated International Women’s Day
We marked the 2020 International Women’s Day with several events in the cities of Offa and Ilorin in Kwara State. These took place in some of our host schools of the W.TEC Academy.
In Ilorin, we organised a panel discussion session at Government Girls Secondary School Oko- Erin in Ilorin, Kwara State. Our Programme Manager, Maryam Abdulsalam and Tolulope Ibiyeye the Coordinator of W.TEC Academy - Kwara anchored the event alongside senior female officials of the school.
The session centered on teaching the girls the main reality of the paths to success which included goal setting, persistence, resilience, hardworking, focus driven and being law abiding.
We organised a second career information event in collaboration with St Claires Girls Grammar School in Offa.
Read more: https://wtec.org.ng/w-tec-marks-2020-2020-international-womens-day/
h.) Organised a panel discussion at the 2020 Social Media Week Lagos
On February 28th, the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre hosted a panel at the annual social media week in Lagos.
The panel tagged “Women Build Technology Too” was comprised of Simi Olusola (Executive Director at Aspilos Foundation), Toyosi Akerele Ogunsiji (Founder of Rise Networks), Kafayat Adeoye (I.T. Support Specialist at Eko-Konnect Research/Education Initiative) and Temilade Adelakun (STEM Advocate and recent Mechanical Engineering graduate of the Univerity of Ibadan). The panel
At the panel, moderator and W.TEC Executive Director, Ms. Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi, presented results of adigital access and habits survey administered at our She Creates Mainland Camp. One of the key findings was that 89.8% of the girls access the internet via a mobile phone.
Learn more about the panel and the report here: https://wtec.org.ng/smw-panel-women-build-technology-too/
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:
W.TEC on BBC Africa: https://twitter.com/BBCAfrica/status/1256630826617495558?s=19
W.TEC Selected as WSIS 2020 Champion (Category 3): https://twitter.com/WSISprocess/status/1240658480568184832
TechCabal ‘Women in Tech’ Report – features W.TEC: https://techcabal.com/reports/nigerian-women-in-tech-report/
Photos of W.TEC’s programmes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wtec/albums
Videos of W.TEC’s programmes: https://www.youtube.com/user/watchwtec
Visit W.TEC website: www.wtec.org.ng
Email W.TEC: firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT W.TEC & THE SHE CREATES CAMP:
The She Creates Camp is an initiative designed to help Nigerian secondary schoolgirls develop an early interest in computer science, information technology and related careers. The She Creates Camp helps to intervene early, combat stereotypes and tackle the digital gender divide. We teach girls to create digital content, create software and develop skills that use information and communication technologies. Our two-week immersion programme empowers girls to contribute meaningfully to the digital economy and improve their economic opportunities.
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.
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