The International Girls in ICT Day was celebrated globally on April 28th, 2022, and the team at the Microsoft Africa Development Center (ADC), West Africa, celebrated the day at an intimate event with schoolgirls and female tech enthusiasts.
Themed “Access and Safety,” the day was marked to reinforce the safety for girls and young women to thrive in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and the need for safe and reliable access to the internet and digital tools. This year and every year, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and partners work together to develop solutions and ideas for lowering barriers to access and improving safety online for girls and young women.
The event held at the newly launched Microsoft facility in Lagos with young girls from Girls Senior Secondary Grammar School Obalende, Ikoyi Lagos, female tech enthusiasts as well as 30 ladies under 30 with no prior tech knowledge all in attendance. This audience were treated to inspiring conversations, one-on-one sessions with mentors, a tour of the office facility, and an introduction to skilling pathways in technology.
On their part, the 30 ladies under 30 who attended the observance without an academic degree or career in tech left with renewed energy willing to pursue careers in tech and software engineering.
Hosted by Sefunmi Wande-Durojaye, Lead Ecosystem and Program Development at Microsoft ADC-West Africa, the observance sparked conversations in ICT for girls during the day-long event, with a keynote address delivered by Bolanle Olumekor, Knowledge Management Assistant at United Nations Information Centre Nigeria.
Participants had the opportunity to hear inspiring and insightful speeches from the speakers during the sessions. Paula Wigwe, Business Manager at Microsoft ADC-West Africa, shared a relatable story of how she got into tech even though her first degree was in Estate Management. Her story had a lot to do with her curiosity, resilience and being focused.
Beyond the significance of internet access and safety for young women, the day was leveraged as another channel to inspire young women interested in STEM to dream and believe in a future at Microsoft like many women, they had the opportunity to meet. Jacquelyn Ekwueme, Senior Program Manager in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), and Adora Nwodo, Software Engineer in Mixed Reality, shared their experiences on ways to become a voice and remain relevant within the tech industry.
Per opportunities in skill advancement, Microsoft ADC West Africa partnered with Utiva and Skillup Africa to help the females in skilling up toward their career journey in tech.
Other notable sessions during the day included a career session anchored by Tejumade Olaniyi, Recruiter at the ADC West Africa, and an experience at the Garage led by Lydiah Karanja, Program Manager of the Garage, ADC East Africa.
The Garage session gave the participants the opportunity to try their hands on a few projects, bringing home how very accessible and fun tech can be for young women.