Meet the #eSkills4Girls Fund grantees
The #eSkills4Girls Fund provides financial resources to local initiatives across countries in the Global South. The fund’s objective is to improve women’s and girls’ digital literacy and to help close the gender digital divide. In 2021 the Fund was awarded for the third time to local initiatives improving women’s lives in the digital age by providing gender-sensitive skills training. While all initiatives share the same vision, their approaches vary greatly: Time to meet the grantees!
As our daily lives move increasingly into the digital realm, to be offline often means to be excluded. With over 90 per cent of jobs worldwide including a digital component it is more crucial than ever that everyone — regardless of gender, location or income — can access and use digital tools. However, despite all efforts of the international community the gender digital divide is growing. Today only 48 per cent of women globally use the internet. Numbers are alarming not only in terms of access to digital technology, but also in its implications for social, economic and political participation.
Since Germany’s G20 presidency in 2017, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) works on the initiative #eSkills4Girls to overcome the gender digital divide and to promote the participation of women and girls in the digital economy. As the lack of digital skills emerges as a key reason for staying unconnected, fostering digital literacy can be transformational and is critical for closing the gender digital divide. Therefore, the #eSkills4Girls Fund was launched in 2018 as part of Germany’s engagement within the EQUALS Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age. Supported trainings are targeted specifically at women and girls from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds strengthening their possibility for social, political and economic participation in the digital age.
Meet the Grantees!
The CENTRE D’INNOVATION DE LUBUMBASHI in the Democratic Republic of Congo implements BINI TECH, a programme focusing on training women and girls with little or no digital background as well as those from disadvantaged communities. The programme is delivered in the language most suitable for each group of participants: French or Swahili. Participants are grouped as follows: Data4Her empowers young career women; Code4Girls aims to ignite a passion for technology in young girls, aged 14 to 18 years; I-MAMA focusses on digital competency of women entrepreneurs; I-DADA focusses on basic digital competencies for young girls, aged 13 to 18 years.
The DIGIWOMEN INITIATIVE by Promane and Promade Ltd. in Nigeria in partnership with Retails Giant Academy and SheLearnsHere, is a grassroots initiative promoting digital skills for women in low-literacy Northern Central Nigeria. Participants are predominately rural women farmers who are earning little for their wares as well as having limited land ownership rights. Ultimately, the initiative aims to empower women economically by increasing their income and their financial independence through digital skills. Additionally, every woman receives a basic low-cost mobile device in order to apply and advance their skills.
The Deutsche Industrie- und Handelskammer São Paulo implements Women going Digital 2021. This program targets women (aged 18 to 55 years) with low family income, education from a public school and basic knowledge of English and Office who are unemployed or in a professional re-orientation. Women going Digital 2021 offers an e-learning course comprising of 16 units, with 40-hours of content on a robust open source platform. Thanks to the #eSkills4Girls Fund, this virtual solution to gaining digital skills can be offered free of charge. Furthermore, in addition to the online course, at least five online workshops are being added to deepen the content and provide the possibility of expert exchange.
Codehack Training for Young Girls in Kenya Covid-19 Edition 2021 implemented by Pwani Teknowgalz is a virtual program that aims to equip young women (aged 17 to 28 years) from marginalized communities within six Kenyan counties with employable coding skills in website development, mobile app development, and digital marketing. These trainings include courses from design thinking to block-based coding. Among others, participants will create and prototype a mobile app. Through the creation of a WhatsApp group, Pwani Teknowgalz aims to form an active community of female coders.
The initiative Pro Digital Inclusion – Girls Code 21, implemented by Together Civil Society Organization from Ethiopia, is an inclusive and participatory project. Girls and young women (between the age of 18 to 24) with different (dis)abilities, age, national and cultural backgrounds will be grouped with young women who are trained in digital and entrepreneurial skills and coding. Within the planned projects at least five prototypes of web pages will be created to make life easier in times of COVID-19.
The vision of TECHPEARL SOCIAL ENTERPRISE in Malawi is to create a generation of female digital leaders in a country where only 8.4 percent of individuals use a computer. Based in the capital of Lilongwe, this initiative aims to provide a powerful hands-on program to young women who are no longer at school and who are seeking training to develop workplace related digital skills. The training will include various trainings in computer courses, mobile application development, as well as entrepreneurship. Additionally, a hackathon will be organized, and the top five winners will be incubated as start-ups at TechPearl.
Women in Digital in Bangladesh focusses on women from all over the country but particularly those from rural areas with limited resource access and those, who would like to work online. The initiative has a two-fold approach: 1) Women from (non-) IT sectors willing to make a career change and gain technical knowledge and expertise in the field of IT. This approach will not only include necessary classes, but also an introduction to the job market, soft skills and most importantly mentorship. 2) Here the focus lies on empowering women through e-businesses. On the one hand, aspects such as digital marketing, product (hand-made wares) quality checking, e-commerce entry, photography and many more courses based on their specific needs will be a focus. On the other hand, they will also be taught to ride bicycles so that commuting to different locations for business purpose within the area will be easier and efficient.
InspireIT in Nigeria encourages and supports young girls and women studying or simply being interested in STEM. InspireIT runs several projects to make STEM courses exciting for young girls, and to get more girls to pursue careers in STEM. One of such projects is the STEM Club. It encourages young girls in primary and secondary schools to acquire digital skills, basic programming skills, and to build strong foundations in science subjects. Through the #eSkills4Girls Fund, in 2020 the STEM Club Project was expanded to include children with autism.
AmazoOn du Web in Côte d’Ivoire is an organization whose mission is to promote ICT among women. Through its actions AmazoOn du Web helps to reduce the digital divide and empower women and girls through ICT. The “rural woman – digital woman” project enables women from cooperatives to acquire marketing skills, bringing their businesses online and developing online e-commerce opportunities to extend their reach. Women and girls who participate in the training programme will also become trainers for their peers.
Apps and Girls in Tanzania and Uganda focusses on creating coding clubs in public secondary schools through the Empower Program. Girls aged 12 to 19 are taught coding skills to inspire them to enroll in STEM courses and support them to develop their own digital projects. The programme seeks to break various barriers that hinder girls and young women in technology by providing the alternative — a supportive path into the field of ICT and a future in tech.
Elegant IT in Bangladesh began its journey in 2017 with the purpose of empowering women and the disabled using mobile technology. By introducing the field of ICT to disadvantaged groups, Elegant IT aims to reduce the gender gap as well as to improve socio-economic participation of everyone.
The Global Active Learning Group in Peru aims to make life-long learning engaging and productive with a positive social impact. One of the ways they have achieved this during the last couple of years has been training students and public workers in digital mapping and associated tools. This allows them to develop more skills which allows better results in social projects.
Douar Tech’s mission is to promote the resilience of vulnerable young Moroccans, especially women and those living in rural and peri-urban areas, through training in entrepreneurship, web development and other tech related skills. The approach focuses on blended learning models and engaging the surrounding entrepreneurial and technological ecosystems through programmatic and other professional networking initiatives. Their programs currently focus on Moroccan youth, yet their networks span across the SWANA (South West Asia and North Africa) region and the African continent.
Data Girl Technologies in Cameroon is an IT startup that empowers girls with digital skills. The DataGirl initiative “IT 4 ALL” aims to close the digital gender gap and empower women and girls to use technology to create innovative solutions advancing equality in their communities. The initiative has a focus on Internally Displaced girls, teenage mothers, women and girls who cannot afford formal school as well as women transitioning into tech careers. Data Girl Technologies not only provides the opportunity for more girls to acquire digital skills that can easily be monetized for sustainable finances. It also helps girls to become key actors and advocates in near future for the IT industry in Cameroon.
Girl Grandeur Zimbabwe is a social club for women and girls teaching them how to take control of their own narrative through digital storytelling. By teaching them how to blog, they are given the power to finally tell the untold story of the African woman. Simultaneously, it is an income generating skill and it diversifies the voices available in the media.
Caribbean Girls is a Caribbean-wide regional hackathon initiative for girls aged 14-18 years old and young women in college and university. Hundreds of women and girls are immersed in online tech training and workshops to create tech solutions for the Caribbean context. Student hackers learn robotics and drone technology and use technology to build innovative websites, mobile apps, chatbots, gaming, short films and videos. They also create podcasts to address SDG issues such as climate change and gender-based violence. Building leadership and confidence is a critical element of the training, which also brings in role models from global tech companies.
AHK Argentina carries out “Desafío 4.0 (Challenge 4.0), a three-month innovative training and mentoring program. It aims, among other things, to develop the analytical, digital and leadership skills of young people between 18 and 23 years. This strengthens the employability of Argentine youth, especially girls, in the digital economy.
Ghana Code Club is a national after-school program that empowers the youth – particularly girls – with computer programming skills. They train and support volunteers and teachers with resources nationwide to establish coding clubs from homes, in community centers, schools and libraries. Participants who exit the Ghana Code Club can create their own computer programs such as animations, computer games, websites, mobile apps and they have basic electrical and mechanical engineering skills. Rolled out with the support of the #eSkills4Girls Fund, the ”Code on Wheels” program enabled trainers to travel to communities across the country and host coding workshops for women and girls aged 12 to 24, as well as train volunteers and educators to establish Girls Code Clubs.
She Codes for Change in Tanzania use their “Her Digital” initiative to build the digital capacity of young women and girls. Through the project, the organisation mentored women seeking technology careers and accelerated women-led technology businesses. The Fund supported Her Digital to empower young women entrepreneurs aged 18-35 with digital and analytical skills, and supported women to leverage digital platforms and grow their businesses.
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in Nigeria aims to empower citizens for a just and knowledge-based society. This society should be anchored on sustainable and balanced development using ICT, Capacity Development, Advocacy, Research and Partnership. Through the fund, the Digital Livelihood Programme for Young Women was expanded. This programme empowers women personally and professionally via ICT and digital skills training workshops covering topics from online safety to internet governance.
Uwani Hub in Nigeria is a CSR project of How Do You Tech. As a non-profit organisation, they aim to teach and inspire young African females to be prosumers of technology. They offer technology skills programmes and provide safe spaces for women and girls to learn about and understand technology and its empowering potential. They now focus on training the use of WordPress and digital skills, creating a community of 500 active contributors. Additionally, they plan to train linguists on translating WordPress to their major local language(s), to build a community of Polyglots, ready to teach others what they have learned.
Laboratoria Coding AC’s mission is to empower women who dream of a better future to start and grow transformative careers in technology. To achieve this, they provide a 6-month immersive bootcamp in technical skills (front-end development or UX-design) and life skills for women. They place their graduates in quality tech jobs and foster a strong community of alumnae who support each other’s growth as future leaders of the tech sector. Since their launch in Lima, Peru in 2014, Laboratoria has scaled to open centers in Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.
GEM Institute’s SWIFT Codes, Lesotho is a women-led organization partnering with schools across the country. The programme encourages girls and women in marginalised communities to be creators and innovators in STEAM areas using technology and creative industries to advocate for gender equality. Three main goals are pursued: 1) Create a tech environment girls and women can engage in with focus on creative industries and agribusiness; 2) build a national school network that aims to include girls in the global tech community; 3) use technology as a driver for gender equality and climate action.
Girlhype Coders, South Africa, launched a job creation initiative to promote the employability of females under the age of 35 in Cape Town through digital literacy and coding skills. The program is aimed directly at bridging the gender digital divide to empower young women to realise the benefits of access to the internet and other information and communications technologies. Girlhype works with corporate partners to ensure students gain workplace experience once they complete the training program. Beneficiaries completed a certification program intended for people who seek entry-level jobs in an IT environment.
Lebanese League for Women in Business is a non-profit organization that aims to support women in business and women in the workforce to “take the lead and succeed”. This is achieved through the design and implementation of skills development programs, mentorship, and access to funding programs for women entrepreneurs and business owners. LLWB also works in partnership with the private sector as well as with key decision makers and stakeholders on advocating for women in leadership and decision-making positions in organizations.
Perkumpulan idea is an initiative that works towards digital literacy for women’s groups in the village area at a district level in Indonesia. They used the funds to support their Digital Literacy for Women to Advocate for Better Allocation of Village Funds project. The initiative aims to strengthen the knowledge and skills of women and women’s groups in accessing data from government and online portals to demand better budget allocation for gender equity. The project trains women in budget transparency and gender-inclusive development while raising awareness about the importance of digital literacy for better resource allocation for gender equity.
The Code to Change, Pakistan, minimises the digital skills gap and bridges the digital gender divide in the technology sector. Through boot camps, mentoring, events and meetups, the initiative encouraged women to build their own technology products, become entrepreneurs and sustain their livelihoods in the technology sector. The initiative provided a safe space for collaboration, support and communication for women working in the digital sector.