This article was originally published in The Business and Financial Times
A young Ghanaian lady, Ivy Barley, emerged tops in the prestigious ‘E-Skills for Girls Competition,’ an initiative of the German government to tackle the gender digital divide by increasing the participation of women and girls in the digital economy. Ms. Barley’s social enterprise, Developers on Vogue, won the top prize which includes a €15,000 cash, laptop, mentorship from Google and also the opportunity to meet German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. She had the opportunity to present her social enterprise to the delegates of the Women 20 Summit, which was attended by the German Chancellor.
The winning social enterprise, Developers in Vogue, aims at creating a relevant community of highly skilled female developers who would use technology to revolutionize Africa and beyond. The initiative by Ms. Barley trains young ladies in web and mobile apps development and data science.
According to Ms. Barley, “the goal of her initiative is not to abandon the girls after their training but rather match them to real-time projects and jobs to apply their skills and earn an income. Ladies learn using a practical and project-oriented curriculum. Dedicated mentors are also assigned to them to support them.”
— 🎈 (@kelechiudoagwu) May 3, 2017
Ivy’s team has also won the Ghana Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition with a US$1,000 prize. As the first runner up for Her Future Africa Demo Day, her team was awarded with dedicated business support, corporate branding, office space and others.
Ms. Barley is currently a second year postgraduate student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) pursuing MPhil. Mathematical Statistics.
She is passionate about empowering young women to further their education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields which is what motivated her to launch the Developers in Vogue social enterprise because she believes women can be leaders in STEM fields.
— Frauenrat (@Frauenrat) April 26, 2017
About the “#eSkills4Girls” competition
The German government under its G20 presidency in 2017 launched the initiative “#eSkills4Girls”, which includes several activities initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
As part of this global initiative the Impact Hub network and the BMZ are conducting the #eSkills4Girls Challenge, supported by Google. The initiative among other things will support startups, social enterprises, and NGOs who are already promoting women in tech and bear proven and scalable potential.
While more women are venturing into the tech sector, there is still unbalanced ratio of gender in the digital world. It is estimated that about 71 percent African girls and women will not get online by the beginning of the year, 2020.
A lot of women in Africa do not see the hidden benefits of technology and this creates a developmental lag in their society.
It is on several agencies including governments in Africa to empower women to take advantage of technology. Various individual organisations are also keen to support the African girl child to see what impact technology can have on their lives.
Like Ivy, girls have major advantage over men when it comes to IT. They can lead companies and invent great ideas through the coding perspective. This makes them highly stable and relevant in the current state of the imbalanced gender scale.
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