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LTA, LITSU launch “ICT4Her” initiative

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) in partnership with the Liberia Information Technology Students Union (LITSU) has formally launched a mentorship program named and styled “ICT For Her.”

The program is aimed at creating a space where mentees can tap into the knowledge, skills, and experience of Liberian women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to advance and pursue careers.

The program was launched Thursday, 28 April 2022 as Liberia joined the world in the celebration of International Girls Information Communication Day (ICT).

LITSU which is the mother of all Information and Technology Students in the Republic of Liberia, in collaboration with the LTA and the University of Liberia Department of Computer and Information Sciences (DCIS), celebrated the International Girls in ICT Day on Thursday.

The program was graced by the Deputy Mission Director of the United States Embassy near Monrovia, Mr. Joel F. Maybury, Accountability Lab Liberia Country Director, Mr. Lawrence Yealue, and Mr. Foldestine Paye, immediate past president, LITSU, among others.

Participants at the day-long program, particularly mentees, were dressed in white shirts, while mentors were dressed in blue shirts.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Girls’ access and safety in ICT.” the celebration brought together several ICTs students from various Universities and high schools including, the University of Liberia(UL), United Methodist University (UMU), Starz University and Bluecrest University.

International Girls Information Communication and Technology Day was established by International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

The day is observed to celebrate girls, young women and encourages them to pursue studies and careers in the technology sector.

LITSU is the only certified national organization for ICT students that are engaged in technology which provides ICT awareness, ICT literacy training, solicit internships, and scholarships for deserving students.

Giving an overview of the program, the president of LITSU Ms. Josephine L. P. Koryon said the celebration of International Girls ICT Day seeks to create a safe and diversified environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women in STEM to pursue their studies and careers in the growing field of Information and Communication Technology.

She said it also seeks to remove the existing perception that ICT is a male field.

According to the young female digital advocate,  girls will be mentored by high-profile female IT professionals across all sectors in Liberia and get access to these mentors for their feature career guide.

“Our objective is to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM education, Inspire girls and young women to work in STEM careers,” said Ms. Koryon.

She continued that they seek to provide a platform for females to explore their abilities in computer science, engage the community and promote collaboration through partnerships.

Additionally, Ms. Koryon said they seek to ensure the active participation of girls and young women ICT specialists in the nation-building process of Liberia. 

According to her, they seek to ensure that every high school female student in Liberia gets encouraged about ICT.

Ms. Koryon explained that the gathering also aimed to ensure equal opportunity for girls and young women’s involvement in Liberia’s technology sector, saying despite strong evidence regarding the importance of fully incorporating women into the ICT, there remains a large gender gap.

“Women are underrepresented in the sector, particularly in technical and decision-making positions. ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue,” said Ms. Koryon. 

“Girls in ICT Day reminds us that ICT helps to improve the lives of people everywhere through better health care, better environmental management, better communications, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn,” she noted.

Delivering the keynote address at the program, Madam Maria G. Harrison, Commissioner, Liberia Telecommunication Authority, said as this 2022 Girls in ICT Day Global theme calls for access and safety of girls on the internet, it’s important that girls and young women thrive in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

She said they need safe and reliable access to the internet and other digital tools.

According to Madam Harrison, ICTs are powerful tools that can help accelerate progress towards achieving gender equality which is a basic human right enshrined in the United Nations charter and is one of the main objectives of the UN Millennium Development Goal.

“Because of this, the International Telecommunications Union proposes that the world focus more effort on women and girls, using the power of ICTs to provide new digital opportunities in the hope of ending unfairness and empowering the females, half of the world’s population,” she said. 

“More women need to come in the ICT field to aid the development of the countries of our region and by extension the world,” Madam Harrison noted.

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