EU Head of Delegation Rune Skinnebach made the pledge in Lilongwe on Tuesday at the launch of the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre and presentation of certificates to girls and young women who have completed computer course at NICE ICT Centre.
Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture, Richard Chimwendo Banda, graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour.
Since 2015, NICE has been providing free computer and information communication technology (ICT) courses to women and girls through its NICE Ambassadors for Girl Empowerment (NAGE) Project, which EU is funding.
On Tuesday, NICE awarded certificates to 30 girls who have successfully completed their training.
In his remarks, Skinnebach pledged continued support to programmes and initiatives that NICE is implementing to transform lives of Malawians, including women and girls.
“In all our endeavours, we believe that, making targeted investment in women and girls will help achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is very crucial to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda. It is our firm understanding that we can only work better together. I therefore look forward to continued partnerships as we tirelessly work towards uplifting Malawi,” he said.
Skinnebach urged the graduands to use the basic lessons learnt as a foundation for better and bigger goals that will eventually transform Malawi.
“You must enter the technology and digital space with full confidence that you can ably contribute and make a difference. Let the stories of the women I have talked about and even that of your fellow student shared just before me, inspire you, to use technology as a means for growth and transformation for Malawi,” he said.
NICE Board Chairperson Lingalireni Mihowa said the ICT Centre is one of the initiatives her organization is implementing in its vision to build a well informed, transformed, responsive nation that actively participates in public life.
Mihowa stated that the ICT Centres that NICE is operating are about inclusion, about empowerment of youth especially young women, are about enhancing skills for your people, are about pathways to job creation, are about human capital development and they are about connecting people to information that supports their participation in their democracy.
“Through this initiative, NICE Trust is intentionally supporting young women to bridge the digital divide by exposing more girls to ICT facilities and what technology can offer in their lives. At the same time, this initiative is leveraging on ICT to amplify girls’ potential, voices and enjoyment of rights while harnessing the overall potential of digital technology in shaping Malawi’s digital future. This is a good contribution to the achievement of the aspirations in the Malawi 2063, and I say this as a proud NICE Trust Chairperson, and also wearing my hat as the MW2063 Champion for the Human Capital Development enabler,” she said.
Mihowa thus expressed ‘our deep gratitude to the European Union Delegation in Malawi for the support that it has continued to render to NICE Trust’.
In his remarks, the Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture, Richard Chimwendo Banda, said the government will create an enabling environment to allow graduands from the ICT Centres to thrive.
Chimwendo Banda said his ministry will engage Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education Training Authority (TEVETA) and National Economic Empowerment Fund (NEEF) on how they can integrate the graduands into government programmes and financing opportunities.