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Foundation expands programme to ensure IT penetration




Working to Advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education in African Women (WAAW) Foundation
says it is expanding its Information Technology programmes to Edo, Oyo, Kaduna and Enugu states for even penetration.

Mrs Loveth Ubi, the Chief Operating Officer of the foundation, disclosed this on Monday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) in Abuja.

WAAW Foundation empowers girls in Africa by increasing the population of girls educated in STEM and to encourage their engagement in technology
innovation to benefit the continent.

Ubi said that the programmes of the foundation which include primary IT skills, coding, IT mentorship programme, among others, have been ongoing in Lagos and Abuja.

She added that “we believe that engaging women in computing skill will lead to empowerment, financial stability and promote economic growth.

“We will continue to improve the skills of young women through our programmes so that they can take advantage of blossoming technology market in Nigeria.

“WAAW wants young women to be confident to take up jobs in IT sector, as well as build start-up businesses that will create more jobs.

“In 2019, we are expanding our programmes to four states, namely: Edo, Oyo, Enugu and Kaduna.”

The operation officer said that one of the foundation’s programme ‘She Hacks Africa’, a coding programme, launched in January 2017 had contributed to
young women’s innovative strides.

According to her, 74 per cent of young women who participated in the programme have gained employment and created tech businesses.

She said “since the inception of She Hacks Africa in 2017, the programme has opened up innovative and alternative pathways for women
who find their way into technology careers.

“It has established a more robust population for the next generation of women leaders in technology.

“A total of 306 Nigerian youths have gone through the programme and have developed skills to engage in global economy and attempt digital work.

“Thirty-two per cent of the programme beneficiaries are employed in tech companies as Junior developers or Interns, while 42 per cent created
their tech businesses.”

She said that WAAW Foundation, in collaboration with Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation trained 219 Nigerian youths in 2018.

Ubi, however, decried the poor turnout of female participants to their programmes in spite of it being free.

According to her, there is first-hand cultural stereotypes and misconceptions that discourage and hold girls back from going into technology career.

She added that “to overcome this challenge, we partnered with local community female empowerment organisation to help to cast the programme
in positive light, find participants and talk with families.

“We championed female role models making strides in the field of technology to show girls that success is achievable and build confidence
in their ability to succeed.”

She called on youths, especially females, to engage in building careers around STEM, which is the bedrock of innovation. (NNN)

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu