Araba never understood why her parents did not appear to understood her passion for technology stuff.
A broken-down laptop at home fascinated her than a fully stocked wardrobe. Her mother, in particular, felt her daughter may be growing into a ‘tomboy’, a girl showing masculine traits.
How does a girl quarrel with boys over who should fix the lightbulb in the hall?
But that was Araba for you. Eventually she lost the fight. Not merely in who to fix the bulb. But her fight to follow her dream into electronics.
The wider society of the early 2000s tacitly agreed with her patents that her sharp mind for science should land her in a laboratory or some medical field.
She could not find encouragement, pathways, and support systems to go the way of Silicon Valley.
She is now a laboratory technician at a government-run hospital. Married with two children, she is beginning to see her traits in her daughter. And she is convinced, what happened to her must not happen to her daughter.
In a world of technological advancement, a company which is investing in the women and girls to be technology savvy needs commendation.
Based on this background, she was extremely happy about the massive support MTN Ghana has been making for the Girls in ICT project by government through its Corporate Social Responsibility wing, MTN Ghana Foundation.
The MTN Ghana Foundation was established in November 2007 as the vehicle to select and implement MTN’s Corporate Social Investments. MTN Ghana Foundation has three areas of focus -Health, Education and Economic Empowerment.
Education projects undertaken include: construction of a boys dormitory for Akropong School for the Blind, construction of a six-unit classroom block for Kodjonya Millennium School, establishment of 10 MTN ICT Learning Centers in each of Ghana’s 10 regions and the institution of an Innovation Hub at KNUST to promote Telecoms Engineering and Research.
Ghana’s telecommunications giant donated a whopping GH¢10 million to cover the cost of the project over a three-year period in support of the Girls in ICT project.
Through MTN Ghana’s intervention, over 1,000 Junior High School (JHS) girls from very remote areas of Ghana whom hitherto would not have gotten the opportunity for the first time saw computers and made the practical aspect of the programme fan for them.
The Girls in ICT adopted in 2012 by all International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is aimed at exposing young girls to opportunities in the ICT sector, through the mentorship workshops and open day programmes, to prepare them for ICT related professions in future.
So far, no telco has committed to support such a laudable project intended to empower and encourage girls to consider careers in ICT seen as a male dominated field.
MTN Group as a signatory to the United Nations Women Empowerment Principles is indeed walking the talk by addressing the barriers that arise from ICT and address inequalities that hinder girls and women from fully participating in and benefiting from the bold, new digital world.
MTN Ghana over the past 25 years as part of its core beliefs has ensured that, everyone benefits from a modern, connected life.
With many of the young girls especially in Senior High Schools (SHS) interest in robotics, the telco through its Foundation built a multi-purpose ICT library and Robotics lab at Ebenezer SHS at Dansoman in Accra.
The Robotics and ICT lab which is the first in Ghana at the cost GH¢770,000 be a learning resource centre for training students and young people in robotics.
This was after MTN Ghana supported the Methodist Girls High School at Mamfe, Akwapim to win the 2019 edition of the World Robofest competition held in Michigan, United States.
Team ACRO-BOT from the Mamfe High School came first beating opposition from the United States, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Brazil, Columbia, Egypt, England, India and Nigeria among others.
The aim of MTN Ghana Foundation for building the Robotics and ICT lab is to see more Ghanaians students win the World Robofest competition.
The support for girls in ICT is not limited to just the public sector. MTN Ghana has also partnered private entities to trains skills in digital skills.
MTN Girl Code
The partnership with Women in Tech Africa, an organization that supports Women in Technology across Africa came as a sign of relief for me as a disappointment ‘tech guru’.
My joy was that, finally females like me seeking to get a career in tech will now have mentors to look up in the in areas dominated by males.
The programme dubbed: MTN Girl Code was to encourage the next generation of women to participate in coding and computer programming to enable them rock shoulders with their male counterparts.
MTN Ghana made massive investments to set up App camps to train young female in Mobile Apps development, Internet of Things (IoT) and Animated Video creation.
Girls from the Greater Accra, Central, Ashanti and Northern regions benefited from this laudable project. Now I can confidently say that, through the interventions of MTN Ghana, a lot of girls now interest in pursuing courses in ICT.
As a company sensitive with persons with disability, the telecommunications against partnered with Soronko Academy to train 40 students with hearing impairment from the Tetteh Ocloo State School for the Deaf in Web Development and Design.
The one-month training empowered the students majority of whom were girls to code and build an online student portal, which serves as a tool to share educational activities within the school.
The goal for this project by MTN Ghana is not to make profit but to help create wealth and eradicate poverty through ICT.
In celebrating 25 years of operations in the country, just investment in ICT alone has contributed immensely to Ghana’s GDP.
The difficulties government is facing to equip both Junior and Senior High Schools with ICT tools in its quest for a digitized economy is enough to acknowledge the tremendous impact of the work MTN Ghana Foundation is doing.