Marginalised women and girls go digital

“I feel honoured to be graduating in something that I’ve always thought I could never learn and master” – so says Winnety Kaseke from Rusape, one of 148 women who graduated at the Celebration Centre in Harare after completing a free course in basic information and communication technology.

The training, initiated by the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network, started in November 2011, and aims to empower women and girls facing challenges in accessing and using technology.

Among the graduates were young girls, teachers, informal traders, hairdressers, vegetable vendors, tailors, cross-border traders and pre- school owners among others, drawn from all the country’s provinces.

Kaseke said she appreciated the skills training initiative and said, unless women embraced ICT and its advantages, they would continue lagging behind in accessing critical knowledge essential for their development.

“The geographical location of an individual should not be a barrier for access to modern day technology,” said Kaseke. “I am going to use these skills to find information that helps me in my area of expertise: farming. I am going to improve my knowledge on how I can get agricultural related information that will help me reap the maximum and best yield from my plot,” she said.

The ZWRCN’s women-to-women training is part of the organisation’s efforts to bridge the information gap for Zimbabwean women and girls.

Gladys Matumba said the skills and expertise acquired from the training were going to cascade to the children she teaches at Nhamburiko primary school in Mufakose, Harare.

Said Matumba: “I used to pay to get things done for me that needed to be done on the computer. Not anymore.”

Margaret Lampiyao from Mabvuku in Harare, a cross-border trader, said because mothers played an integral part in raising children, it was important that they had ICT knowledge and expertise so that they could also teach their children at a young age.

“It becomes a challenge when a child comes home from school and they want assistance on ICT related homework and as a mother, you are clueless about how to assist your child,” she said.

Lampiyao said that, because of the importance of ICT in day-to-day living, it was important that women acquired the skills and knowledge to move in line with global trends. Rashiwe Gumbu, a tailor from Mabvuku in Harare, said ICT had the potential to change her world.

“I am planning to start my own clothing factory and it is important that I get the knowledge so I can be a successful businesswoman. ICT is important for data capturing and record-keeping, among other things,” she said.

“Technological changes are now affecting how societies run their social, economic and political lives, hence the importance of embracing such skills and knowledge,” said Elizabeth Chikwiri, dean of studies at the Women’s University in Africa.

Research has shown that in Africa, women working in technology related fields make up less than 15 per cent of the total workforce.

Post published in: News

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