By Gifty Arthur
An opportunity has been given to females between the ages of 13-25, to develop technological solutions to solve some of African’s contemporary problems and also rub shoulders with their male counterparts in ICT.
The ICT contest, first of its kind in Ghana, was on Wednesday launched by the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in Accra, with a call to females, to pursue careers in science, mathematics, technology and engineering.
The contest was first held in Rwanda as Mss Geek Rwanda in 2014, but was later changed to Miss Geek Africa in 2017. Girls within the age bracket across the country, are expected to put in their entries for selection.
By this, they are required to describe the problem they want to solve using technology and how they will go about among others. Interested persons are required to send their entries to www.msgeek.gov.gh. Deadline for application is November 10, 2019.
Speaking at the launch, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful, said the contest was to encourage young girls and also see themselves as people who could do anything provided they work hard and are committed to their work. According to her, the Ministry of Communications, is committed to lead the agenda to realize this dream.
Winners, will also represent Ghana at the Ms Geek Africa competition to be held in Guinea, whilst the top three finalists, will receive cash prizes, business support amongst others. The finalists will also become Geek ambassadors to spread the news of other girls’ achievements in science and technology.
“In December, the shortlisted applicants will participate in a master class and at the end have to present their solutions before a panel.
The winner will represent Ghana at the next Miss Greek Africa. The top three finalists will receive cash prizes and business support amongst others.
They will spread the word about girls’ and women’s achievements in STEM, encourage teenage girls to take up courses in physics, chemistry, computer science and engineering, encourage girls and women, to participate in Miss Geek Ghana and submit meaningful contributions”, she said.
She continued “We want to encourage our young women to also innovate and not see this stage and say it is beyond our capabilities. I keep saying that there is nothing we cannot do if you put your mind to it and you work hard at it.
Let dare to dream, let dare to innovate and let see where that will lead us, and the Ministry of Communications, will lead us”.
Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful said for years, the Ministry, has sought to work and put measures in place to aid girls, do away with the fear of venturing into ICT and to get them to understand that there is nothing beyond them provided they develop the interest and commitment.
She said initiatives such as the “Girls in ICT” programme which was held once in a year but now held twice, is one programme which is helping unearth talents as young as nine years across the country.
“All the effort that we have been undertaken over the years, is to help girls demystify ICT and make girls realize that, it is not beyond their capability to also take up a career in ICT.
Once they are given the opportunity and exposure, they realize that, there is nothing they can’t do. They can also do as their male colleagues. The little effort we are doing I think are paying off”.
The Minister, who was flanked by her two deputies, George Andah and Vincent Odotei Sowah said, this was the time for participants to think outside the box and develop solutions for challenges raging from agriculture to fashion and so on.
“I have no doubt that the Ms Geek competition will also excite even more girls to look at practical applications of technology to address contemporary challenges around us from agriculture to health, to education, to communication, to sanitation, environmental protection, to commerce, you name it, they are endless textile industry, fashion industry, the applications are many.
And so I just want them to think outside the box, to innovate, to look at challenges around us and to see how we can use ICT to address those challenges.
They should just develop the concept and then, they have one month to submit their entries outlets that have been put up using the various digital platforms to put the ideas up”.
She said “Though women play a vital role in our society, they are likely to face social injustices and are also less likely to be educated and have access to ICT in overcoming their situations”.