Embrace ICT, Minister Hughes urges girls

FEMALE students from 10 city schools were on Thursday given the opportunity to tour several tech-intensive agencies and private companies, including the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), Digicel and the NDMA/E-Government Unit as part of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications’ ‘Girls in ICT’ Day observance.
During their tour, the girls met with Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes and other female ICT specialists. The group of females gathered at the North Ruimveldt Secondary School to discuss their future in ICT.
Minister Hughes in her charge encouraged the girls to embrace ICT and told them, “There are no limits to YOUR future. With technology advancing at such a high speed, you are now placed in the right positions to follow up what women before you have already started.”
She told the story of a young Internet Marketing professional whom she had the pleasure of meeting. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet the Senior Marketing Strategist of Google, New York. At 20-something years old, she is so knowledgeable about the internet and Information Technology that she believes that there is NOTHING that ICT cannot do,” she said.
“There is another reality that we have to change,” she stated, while noting that “You might know a few girls who still believe that the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT) is just for boys and men. Well, Girls in ICT Day was designed to tell you that you are wrong! Don’t let the word technology fool you, or keep you from taking charge of it,” the minister stated.

A staff member of Digicel Guyana hands out flash drives to girls who participated in Thursday’s Girls in ICT activities at the Leonora Secondary School.
Those who participated in Thursday’s programme in Georgetown included students from Queen’s College, Brickdam Secondary, St. Joseph High, North Georgetown , Ascension, Cummings Lodge, Charlestown and Christ Church Secondary Schools.
Meanwhile, nearly 300 15 and sixteen-year-old girls attending Leonora Secondary and other schools on the West Coast of Demerara (WCD) catchment area received live messages via Skype from representatives of the United Nations and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a statement from the ministry stated.
As part of the observance, the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) partnered with Digicel Guyana to be part of activities held at the Leonora Secondary School. The girls who participated in the day’s activities benefitted from small-group workshops, information on cyber security, videos and training sessions.
Digicel has been participating in the NFMU’s programme for the past four years and according to the company’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Vidya Sanichara, this year is no different for Digicel.
“Girls in ICT is a notion that we will always support. At Digicel Guyana more than half of our workforce is women, or you can say ‘Girls in ICT’ not just locally, but in all 32 markets in which we operate. We are pleased to be part of this event where girls are encouraged to find or peruse careers in ICT. Digicel remains committed to playing our part in helping to bridge this gap.”
The company presented a quantity of flash drives to those who participated in the day’s activities, the telecommunications company said in a statement.
International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative backed by the ITU. It is meant to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the burgeoning field of diverse talents. International Girls in ICT Day is observed annually on the 4th Thursday in April.
Meanwhile, the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) which falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, will host its annual Mentorship Luncheon from noon, Friday 28th April at the Umana Yana, Kingston, Georgetown.
This event is designed for more mature students of the University of Guyana and Sixth Formers of senior secondary schools. Female ICT managers and executives are expected to attend and interact with the younger students and technicians.