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AIRTEL Networks Zambia Plc has partnered with Smart Zambia Institute to provide digital skills training to schoolgirls in the country and to encourage them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Under the program, hosted by Smart Zambia Institute, 150 girls selected from three provinces in Zambia will undergo digital skills training that will run throughout 2021.

Airtel Zambia will support connectivity for the sessions by providing routers and data for the duration of the project as well as provide mentors for the schoolgirls, drawn from across the business, in addition to offering job shadowing opportunities after the training.

Airtel Zambia Managing Director, Apoorva Mehrotra said the partnership was part of the Digital Transformation Centres (DTC) initiative launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN’s specialized agency for ICT, and digital communications and technology firm, CISCO.

And Smart Zambia Institute National Coordinator, Dr Martine Mtonga said, “As we embark on a journey to transform our country, Zambia, into an information and knowledge-based society supported by increased access to ICT by all citizens by 2030, it is imperative that we do not leave anyone behind as regards digital literacy”.

Dr Mtonga said the aim was to inspire the girls and make them understand the benefits of and the opportunities for undertaking STEM studies for their future careers and to give an opportunity to the girls in underprivileged communities and rural areas, that typically would have been denied the opportunities to acquire Digital Skills, to be able to participate in the socio-economic activities of their country.

ITU Africa Regional Director, Andrew Rugege, said digital skills were essential to closing the global digital divide and empowering people and communities.

And the National Institute of Public Administration, where the training will take place are elated to be part of this life transforming process with Executive Director Ambassador Professor Royson M. Mukwena saying: “NIPA is elated with this strategic collaboration”.

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