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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

W.TEC ends Girls’ Tech camp with awards

WTEC Girls in Tech camp 2011:  Ms al Hassan receiving her prize from the special guest at the occasion, Executive director, operations, DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA) Mrs Nkem Nweke, while a staff of WTEC admires the presentation.
The fourth Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) Girls’ Technology Camp ended in Lagos, recently in Lagos with some of the participants going home with prizes due to their performances.
The Executive Director, W.Tec, Ms Oreoluwa Somolu, disclosed this, saying that participants are now prepared to face with digital world.
This year’s camp, she said, lasted between August 5 and 13, and was attended by girls from high schools ranging from the age of 14 and 17.
She said that closing and presentation ceremony held at Laureates College, Aviation Estate, Mafoluku, Lagos, that awards were given to participants based on two fronts, namely character and academic awards respectively on various categories including Miss Purposeful, which went to a 16-year old girl, Miss Semirat Ahmed from Community Senior High School Ojodu, Abiodun for displaying strongest sense of purpose and focus in her actions and interactions with others and Miss Resourceful went to another 16-year old Miss Temitope Adeolu of Ifako Comprehensive Senior High School, Ifako-Lagos for showing greatest sense of initiative and sense of responsibility.
Miss Amatullah Al-hassan, a 14-year, SSS 2 student from the Essence International School, Kaduna, catch home two prizes as Miss Congeniality and Miss Blossom; for being the best students in camp able to develop and maintain amiable relationships with others as well as for being the girl who blossomed the most over the course of the camp; typically from being very withdrawn and quiet to becoming more sociable and assertive with others.
On the academic excellence awards, three students emerged with Miss Simisola Odegbami, a 13-year, JSS 3 student of Laureates College, Lagos taking the lead, followed by Miss Ebubechi Amobi and Uzamat Jimoh coming second and third prize winners respectively.
Also, the Executive Director, W.Tec, Ms Somolu explained that the girls were observed during the camp and based on a combination of factors, including participation and attentiveness during the workshops and classes as well as level of purpose displayed coupled with hard work, resourcefulness, interactions with camp staff and other campers that the four prizes were awarded to some of the girls.
According to her, W.TEC provides information technology training, mentoring and career counseling programmes in addition to researching on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) could be made more participatory for Nigerian girls and women.
“Technology is an important engine for economic growth and in particular has the potential to spur both national and women’s economic advancement,” she said, stressing that however, women are under-represented in technology fields across the African continent and this has dampening effects on the long-term growth and development of both African women and the continent’s economy.
Research, she said, had shown this stems from a variety of factors including lower numbers of girls who complete secondary school and cultural notions of these fields being more suited to men, which could discourage women’s interest in technology.
In order to reverse this trend, she noted, W.TEC seeks to increase the number of women using technology by offering technology classes, providing information about technology careers and practical applications of technology, presenting female technical role models and dispelling stereotypes of gender-appropriateness of technology.
“Our objectives are for Nigerian women to develop financial empowerment by: training for ICT-specific roles; developing skills that can be used for other ICT-reliant jobs or self-employment. We also want women to develop skills and confidence using ICTs for information gathering, learning and activism for a better quality of life,” she said.
The special guest of the day, the Executive Director, Operations at DigitalSENSE Africa, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, urged the camp participants to take ICT tools seriously and look beyond mere Facebooking and Twitting.
ICT, she said, has more to offer especially with avalanche of social media networks and be conscious of revealing their identity online as they could be subject to abuses.
“You should optimize the Internet as the engine of the new and digital economies,” Mrs. Nweke advised.
The camp was brought to a close with presentation of prizes to deserving students by the special guest and Mrs. Somolu, the proprietor of Laureates College, while the event was supported by Omatek Computers, Laureates College, Rutgers College’s Women in Computer Science group in the USA, Technology Times, TW Magazine, various individual supporters, WTEC board and family members of all the participants.
Remmy Nweke
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