Sparc Systems invests K3m towards International ICT Day 

Sparc Systems, one of the country’s information & communications technology (ICT) firm, has contributed K3 million towards this year’s International Girl in ICT Day to be held on Thursday, April 27 in Blantyre.

At the presentation of the cheque, Technical Sales Manager, Esnor Ward said the gesture was made in the spirit of addressing gender disparities in the digital innovation sector.

Kaonga, one of the organisers of the commemoration

“In the course of our business, we realised that there are few ladies in the technical field,” she said. “As a tech company, we have taken an initiative to motivate girls to venture into ICT as a way of bridging the gap.

“Girls should be encouraged to take part in driving the digital economy, we have been running free training — dubbed ‘Girls in ICT’ — over the past years and this is now us cementing our resolve to support the girl child.”

Ward also highlighted the importance of the digital economy as a critical pillar for MW2063 development blueprint — thus the need to motivate and put the girl child in the forefront from the grassroots.

‘‘One of our goals is to encourage the country to utilise local technological skills,” she said. “We have made it a point to have engineers locally to respond to the business needs in the shortest time possible.”

Receiving the donation on behalf of the organiser, Horace Nyaka — who is the founder of Her-for-Tech — applauded Sparc Systems for the investment, saying it will give room for more participation.

“The monetary assistance will help in reaching out to many girls so that they actively participate and contribute to the digital economy of Malawi,” he said.

The International Girls in ICT Day takes places on the 4th Thursday of April every year and it is organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with an effort to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in ICT.

This year’s theme for the commemoration will be ‘Digital Skills for Life, and it is expected that a magazine by Her-for-Tech will be launched bringing to light progress by women in Science and Technology.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA), spokesperson for the celebrations’ organisers, Chimwemwe Kaonga said commemoration will also interrogate the position of the gender digital gap in Malawi and how to promote Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) subjects among girls.

“We want to share the common understanding that digital transformation provides new avenues for the empowerment of women and girls.

“However, discrimination, negative stereotypes and social cultural biases create challenges for women and girls to strive in a highly digital economy and society,” Kaonga said.

The launch of Her-for-Tech Magazine has profiled a number of women who have made strides in the area of STEM and Kaonga took cognizance that these fields are male-dominated and most girls lack role models in STEM — hence the launch of magazine so that as a girl child reads it, she should be inspired and motivated to pursue a similar field.

President for Information, Communications and Technology Association of Malawi (ICTAM), Clarence Gama said it is a good initiative as women are often under-represented in this field — which can result in missed opportunities for both individuals and the industry as a whole.

“This will help increase diversity in the ICT industry, leading to a more creative and innovative workforce and is particularly important in developing countries like Malawi where access to technology and digital skills can be limited for girls due to cultural and societal norms,” Gama said.

Other partners in the commemoration include Women for Social Change (W4SC), Centre for Governance and Leadership (CEGOL), Inq. Digital Malawi and Times Group.

The International Girls in ICT Day was designated in 2011 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations.—Additional reporting by Sanenje Nkhani Mussa, MANA

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