Cisco Supports Girls in ICT with Girls Power Tech Initiative
Cisco recently hosted its second ‘Girls Power Tech’ mentoring sessions in Nigeria. The mentoring sessions were part of a global mentoring initiative to support and complement the United Nations ‘Girls in ICT Day’ organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The Girls in ICT day which also took place on the 28th of April, 2016, is aimed at improving the understanding of careers in ICT among girls. Cisco has supported Girls in ICT since its inception in 2011. This year, girls ages 13-21 from Nigerian Naval Secondary School, Queens College, Federal Science and Technical College and Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Saint Micheal Anglican College, Federal Science and Technical College,Yaba, and New Estate Baptist College Lagos were invited to participate in Girls Power Tech mentoring opportunities with Cisco employees, allowing girls to make informed career choices about working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
They also experienced Cisco technologies first hand and met with other girls participating in Girls in ICT Day across the region via Cisco TelePresence.
The day’s agenda included an executive welcome by Mr Kunle Oloruntimehin, Cisco country GM, group mentoring, an immersive telepresence experience with entrepreneurs Rachel Zietz and Naomi Whittel on innovation, entrepreneurialism, fearlessness, & mentorship, a learning session with Rachael Asonibare – head, Country Technology Management, Standard Chartered on Innovation and Female empowerment and a site tour.
Globally and in Nigeria, there is a massive shortfall projected in the numbers of workers trained for careers in ICT. Cisco’s ‘Girls Power Tech’ is focused on encouraging girls and young women in more than 50 countries, and 90 Cisco offices, to discover opportunities opened by careers in ICT. Often students are discouraged from pursuing careers simply because they either do not know anyone who works in these fields or they do not understand what people in these fields do. That’s why Cisco’s hands-on mentoring is so important. Mentoring also provides meaningful experiences for employees, with employee volunteers reporting higher level of engagement, loyalty, and longevity.
Mrs Rachael Asonibare, head, Country Technology Management, Standard Chartered, during her session encouraged the girls to not be afraid to pursue careers in ICT saying “Technology is for Everyone”
Imoh Akpan, CSR programme manager, West Africa commented, “The technology industry in Nigeria has never been more dynamic or more exciting. Now, more than ever, we need to be doing all we can to build the diverse talent pipeline that will lead our industry into the future.
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