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THE much anticipated Kazipower Girls ICT training programme has kicked off in Lusaka Province with an initial 50 girls selected from schools across the Province.

Airtel Networks Zambia recently signed a partnership agreement with Smart Zambia Institute (SZI) in an initiative to help provide digital skills training to school girls.

 The initiative was also aimed at encouraging the girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary, Jabbin Mulwanda, said government was committed to supporting Digital Transformation Centres (DTC) Initiatives.

 He said this was because the programme ensures a digitally transformed Zambian society where the girl child would actively participate in socio-economic activities

Dr Mulwanda said this in a speech read on his behalf by director planning and information at the Ministry, Nicholas Chikwenya.

This was at start of the training sessions at the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) in Lusaka yesterday.

“May I take this opportunity to thank the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Cisco, SZI, Airtel-Zambia Team for the commitment and effort thus far demonstrated in ensuring that the Girls in ICT Digital Skills Training Programme becomes a Success,” Dr. Mulwanda said.

He said that the training had come at an optune time when there was need to close up the existing Digital Divide.

And Airtel representative, Bwembya Chikonde, said it was an exciting time for Airtel to be a part of the launch of the Girls in ICT Project which was meant to encourage more girls to take up subjects dominated by their male counterparts.

“This initiative is dear to our hearts as  we join together with other partners to mould the next generation of women engineers, data analysts and most importantly, achievers and role models for other girls in our society,” Ms Chikonde said.

ITU Southern Area Representative Ms Chali Tumelo who spoke virtually said the COVID-19 pandemic had made everyone more aware of the need to be equipped with digital skills.

She noted  that the lack of digital skills was becoming the main barrier to digital participation, particularly in developing countries.

CISCO’s Senior Manager Global Partnerships, Altaaf Hamid, who also spoke virtually said; “Our aim is to inspire girls and women to enter the world of technology and promote access for young women and girls to opportunities in STEM.”

NIPA Executive Director, Professor Royson Mukwena, said capacity building in ICT at every level plays a vital role in the full realisation of the right to Education as well as Freedom of expression which everyone is entitled to.

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