The Power of ICT
It was a beautiful rainy morning, driving through the scene of the bomb blasts that occurred in my country Nigeria, I wondered what it is going on with the victims of the blasts and their families, I wondered if the government is keeping to their promises to cater for the hospital bills or the families have been abandoned to their fate. Pondering also the issue of the abducted Chibok school girls and the #bringBackOurGirls campaign that have been going on, thanks to the internet the campaign spread so fast that people all over the world got involved in the campaign online and offline. This is how powerful and useful the internet can be. Just recently the news have it that four of the girls have escaped, but the ordinary Nigerians are not sure since the internet, the media, the military, and the government have been coming up with contradictory reports making it difficult for us to know who or what to believe about the abduction. It was in the midst of these thoughts that I arrived at venue of the event; To mark the 2014 International day of girls in ICT, Youth Initiative for sustainable Development in collaboration with FCT-Agency for Science and Technology, Junior Achievement Nigeria, Initiative for the Elimination of Violence against women and children and World Bank Youth Forum. I was there to encourage school girls on the need to participate in ICT, speaking on the topic- promoting and empowering girls in ICT. When it comes to the internet and technology in Africa, women and girls are economically disadvantaged. There are a lot of opportunities in the ICT world and from my interactions with the school girls, I observed that most of the school girls do not have mobile phones, and have no access to computers even back home, and so how can they participate and be empowered? For the few who have mobile phones and/ or have access to computers said they are not online, they have no idea what to do in the internet and the ones who are online only engage in chats with friends. We had a great session teaching them on the importance of participating online, and some ICT experts in the event who taught them on how to create blogs and how to educate themselves on issues of interest to them from the internet. The internet have become so powerful such that women and girls have no option but to participate fully because we are in an era where if you do not have knowledge of ICT you can hardly succeed or catch up with the globalization. You can imagine how it would be like if the abducted chibok girls had mobiles phones, with access to the internet at the time of abduction. they would have posted immediately online and i am sure that would have attracted the security teams, but they had no internet enabled phones, i recall reading in the papers how one of the parents lamented why he never bought a phone for his daughter, said he wished he did. The ones who had internet enabled phones perhaps are not educated on how to use it or what to do. The most effective way in empowering the girl-child is through education and the most contemporary education in our world today is the ICT. It then becomes imperative that the training of girls in ICT becomes paramount in our society. The ICT makes our lives richer, comfortable and connect people from all over the world. For me as an individual and even in my Organization, I know how much I have benefited from the internet, and especially from World Pulse, I have met and interacted with a lot of women and i have gained more confidence in what by participating online.