By Abel Kawere
Since the Introduction of the World Wide Web (www) in the early 1990s, Information Communications Technology (ICT) has been dominated by men worldwide.
Today, ICT is the backbone driving the prosperity of nations and organization, inspiring a better living for people across the globe.
However, no development is one sided if it leaves out the participation of all gender. And increased women participation in the Technology ecosystem in this decade can be inspired by Innovation-driven startups and Enrollment for ICT education.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2011 marked the last Thursday of April as a day dedicated to celebrating girls in ICT worldwide. Over 9,000 celebrations attracted 300,000 women participants by 2018, and today we celebrate the Women that have broad passion for Technology and continue growing while excelling in ICT.
In Uganda, the rate of Women owning Internet enabled devices like Smartphones and Personal Computers (PCs) has risen by 40% since 2015 as per social media analytics results.
This is attributed to the dropping of prices for devices, Internet and to a greater extent access to quality digital skilling (ICT education) as well as Innovation competitions and initiatives.
As a Tech company, we attached a great importance to skilling and empowering women in ICT through our various skilling initiatives which include the Huawei Seeds for the future, the Huawei ICT competition and Huawei ICT Academy as well as offering employment. We take pride in seeing women prosper and flourish in ICT through our several initiatives.
I would like to bring to your attention a great success and inspirational story of a woman who has grown with our company in a space of one year from just an intern to a team leader and to a manager.
Ms Cleopatra Ajambo, participated in the 2018 Huawei Seeds for the future program that involves top college students in ICT-related departments for a two weeks study trip in China. Over 3,000 students globally have taken part in this programme. It’s through the competition that Cleopatra changed her life from just a Computer Science Student to an IT networks architect working with Huawei Uganda.
“As a Computer Science Student, you were expected to dig deep into programming as a major which was not, and is not most girls’ passion, so I found myself relying more on getting good grades than building a career as a problem solver,” says Cleoptra, whose goal for joining the Seeds for future competition was to travel to China for exposure.
Amidst stiff competition, Cleopatra qualified for the national round after drafting a project proposal on how ICT can be leveraged to help people with chronic diseases remotely get access to doctors by using their smartphones.
She wrote a proposal addressing people having chronic diseases and through the use of gadgets and networks, their health would be actively monitored remotely by the doctors.
Cleopatra’s dream to visit China became a reality opening up her doors to a brighter career in the ICT Industry. On return, she was offered an Internship opportunity at Huawei Uganda to further enhance her career. Due to her growing passion for ICT, she progressed through various ranks to her current position as a Maintenance Manager in less than two years.
She joined Huawei as an intern without any network skills, but going through a number of trainings and documentation reading, she moved from being an intern of survey, to an IP engineer configuring devices such as cameras, switches, routers, firewall, to a maintenance manager where she coordinated the fiber team, networks team, and the systems team.”
In the light of the Huawei ICT academy at Makerere University that opened doors for Cleopatra to join the annual skills competition, and enrich her career path, we believe increased ICT education in Uganda has attracted Women to enhance their skills, and win positions that were previously known to be dominated by Men.
“Being in a field mostly dominated by men, what motivates is to always be outstanding. I am very competitive while at work, I am personally interested in computer networking,
Routing and switching, certified in HCIA (Huawei Associate) and currently pursing HCIP
(Huawei computer internetworking professional),” Cleopatra explains her motivation.
Among the successful women in Uganda leveraging ICT to lead and solve real-life problems in previously men dominated positions include the Minister of ICT and National Guidance Ms.
Judith Nabakooba, the recently appointed UCC Executive Director Ms. Irene Sewakambo Kaggwa, among others.
As Women continue to rise in the ICT Industry, the role of ICT companies and Government support to nurture girls through quality ICT education and skill competitions respectively, will bring a fair balance in an industry that was once known to be dominated by men.
Happy International Women in ICT Day.