UN Women Country Resident Coordinator Letty Chiwala has encouraged women and girls to embrace technology and innovations through education in Malawi.
Chiwala made the remarks on Monday during the launch of a four-year Malawi Girls can Code Too’ project in Lilongwe.
A K2 billion project targets 7,500 school learners in selected areas with tablets and mini solars for enhancing ICT education in rural communities.
“This project project component focuses on promoting job and wealth creation through skills development, promoting women led Enterprises to be profitable and grow,” explained Chiwala.
She said: “Malawi lags behind on technology and innovations not only for women but it is the general statistics, and we should do better from that background.”
In order to ensure gender sensitivity, 6,000 girls will be targeted representing 80 percent and remaining 1,500, which is 20 percent are boys.
Research by Malawi Multiple Indicator Survey Cluster of 2019 to 2020 shows dire picture of girls and women in technology and innovations in the country. It indicated that 18 percent of men use internet while seven percent are women.
Men are three times more likely to possess computer skills than women which is at 7 and 2 percent respectively.
The UN Women Country Resident Coordinator further expressed concern over tracking and monitoring mechanism of the project, saying there is need for more and collective efforts to be done.
The Malawi Girls can Code Too project will work with already decentralized public structures to ensure sustainability.
In his remarks, Ambassador for Ireland expressed gratitute over the project that it will help to bridge up the gap of inequality in the country.
“Women and girls are under-represented as fewer have smart phones in Malawi. This will also help girls attain expertise in the areas of Information, Communication and Technology,” he said.
Principal Secretary for Basic Education in the Ministry of Education, Rachel Chibwete Phiri, said technology is the engine that propel education hence the need to embrace it.
“Everyone should benefit. It is high time that we remove all barriers on digital access and adoption for women and girls in the country,” she said.
Chibwete Phiri explained that the core objective of the project supports a national goal of enhancing technological skills in schools and emphasized that every girl in Malawi has a chance to succeed regardless of where are coming from.
She therefore called upon all stakeholders to collaborate in an effort to uplift education in Malawi.