Various companies and organisations collab on hosting a historic virtual event for Caribbean students
News > The Caribbean
By STEM Caribbean | Posted on April 24, 2020
Around the world yesterday, International Girls in ICT Day was celebrated. To mark this day, several companies and organisations collaborated to host a historic virtual event for students, especially girls in the Caribbean. Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC), and Caribbean Girls Hack partnered with numerous companies, individuals, and organisations in the Caribbean and the rest of the world to make this event possible. Over 1700 attendees from almost 30 countries, including Somalia, Ghana, United States, and Canada, participated in this momentous digital event. Registration to the event was free and opened to anyone.
International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency that focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs). The ITU reported that in 2019 the global events on Girls in ICT Day reached about 20,000 girls worldwide.
Caribbean Girls Hack is a regional initiative that supports ITU’s International Girls in ICT Day. This initiative was launched by SheLeadsIT cofounders, Nicole Pitter Patterson and Bridget Lewis. Every year since 2017, this hackathon has been hosted for girls in 5 Caribbean countries to date.
RSC, the other organiser of yesterday’s historic virtual event, is a nonprofit organisation focused on social development through education and technology by establishing tech clubs in schools across the Caribbean.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, gave her remarks in the opening session of the event. She expressed that the celebration of Girls in ICT Day is one of the top events on her calendar every year, and she conveyed her gratitude and support to the event’s organisers and partners. She has an extensive background in leadership and is the first woman to be elected by the ITU in its 155-year history.
During the opening session in the morning, participants received remarks from several women leaders in the Caribbean and around the world. Mrs. Sherri Carrington James from the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools and Mrs. Sugan Ramdass of RSC moderated this session. Remarks were given by representatives from different government ministries in the Caribbean throughout the session. Government officials, such as Honourable Catherine Hughes, the Minister of Public Telecommunications in Guyana, addressed the audience. A representative from the United States Embassy also gave remarks.
Another leader who spoke during the opening session was Kathy Korman Frey, the founder of the Hot Mommas Project, the world’s largest women’s case library of mentors and role models. This award-winning social venture has reached women in 138 countries across the globe.
After the opening session, participants of the event had the option to choose from over 40 breakout sessions in the afternoon. Topics discussed in these sessions ranged from artificial intelligence and machine learning, climate change, gaming, and web development to mentoring, and film and production technology. Presenters included women in tech at Microsoft, film directors and producers, university professors, and business owners.
The session on mentoring was presented by women from AnitaB.org, a nonprofit organisation initially known as the Institute for Women and Technology (IWT). In 2003, the organisation was renamed The Anita Borg Institute in honour of the founder, computer scientist Dr. Anita Borg.
Among the other sessions was a discussion with four women in tech at Microsoft who described their educational journeys and experiences and how they joined Microsoft. They answered questions from the audience and provided advice to Caribbean girls interested in tech careers.
Participants also had the option to hear from film producers and directors who spoke about their work, available tech resources, and challenges they’ve faced in the industry. One of the films discussed in this session was FLIGHT, a Jamaican short film about a young boy who dreams of flying to the moon.
Another film that was discussed was the Adventures of Kam Kam, an animated short film about a Jamaican girl who explores space.