The High Tech Centre for Nigerian Women and Youths is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) established and incorporated under Act 1, 1990 Part C of the Corporate Affairs Commission, to train, empower and build capacity of women and youths in Information Communications Technology (ICT) across Nigeria.
With the realisation of the vast gap and digital divide which changing information and communications technologies (ICT) around the world brings, and the challenges these have brought to developing countries, information and knowledge sharing or dissemination has become a more pressing problem for the women-folk and younger ones in Africa, especially in the West African region. Hence the beginning of an initiative to bridge the digital gap between men and women literacy in ICT by a Ghanaian woman named Ghanaian High Tech Women in the early 2000. Challenging the Nigerian participants in March 2004 during the International ICT Conference in Ghana on interventions for women and girls involvement in ICTs, the Nigerian High Tech Women was born in May 2004 by Dr. (Mrs.) Omowunmi Hassan at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State of Nigeria as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). The primary vision as at then was to reach out to women and girls in Nigeria through awareness / literacy campaign, workshops, summits on ICTs and computer usage while providing information on ICT access opportunities to women.
The organisation therefore metamorphosed into High Tech Centre for Nigerian Women and Youths which has since been incorporated under Act 1, 1990 Part C of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in 2012, after a rigorous status and nomenclature challenges with changes to the initial name of the NGO as suggested by the CAC after eight years of filing for registration. The various categories of women from the academia/professionals, public/civil servants, private sector, business/entrepreneurs, women in rural communities and girls in schools was identified as targets of our intervention, thus the justification for the strategic goals and aspirations of the organisation.
To see every Nigeria woman and youth become ICT literate and be able to use ICTs for wealth creation.
To build up Nigeria women and youths from various fields of life by empowering them through ICT for research, entrepreneurial development, competitive advantages and wealth creation.
- To provide computer education and Information Technology literacy to Nigerian women and youths at all levels
- To create avenues to educate Nigeria women and youths in ICT by organising seminars, Workshops, Summits, IT camps and Conferences
- To encourage networking and cooperation for Nigeria women and youths development in Information Technology with other national and international organisations (private and public), non-governmental organisations and voluntary agencies with similar objectives and initiatives.
- To facilitate the establishment of IT Centres and ICT Clubs in schools, work places and communities where women and youths can have access to Information and Communications Technology.
- To serve as repository of information to women and especially girls on ICT for empowerment in economic and educational development
With a focused vision and mission statement, the initiative to catch – them young started the outreach of the NGO to schools by establishing ICT Clubs in Schools as well as creating Clubs in Local Government Areas around Ile-Ife town in Osun State of Nigeria then. However, the feared digital divide between the gender (male and female) which established us was seen at a point to be marginalising capacity building interventions against the ‘boy child’. This births the incorporation of ‘youth initiatives’ to accommodate the empowerment of both sexes in ICTs among the younger and upcoming generation through our engagements and activities. This then birth the ICT Summer Academy Camp (ISAC) for Youths (male and females) from ages 15 while the school seminars for primary and secondary school children was tagged Children ICT Summit (CIT)
Furthermore, we were able to strategically map out how to reach our targets by planning initiatives that address various categories of women and youths. Such includes, workshop for wives and women leaders at the States and Local Government Areas (LGAs) tagged Women Leaders Forum (WLF). Professionals and women in the public and private sector of the economy are gathered to a special summit tagged “Women ICT Summit” (WITS) yearly, the first edition held in 2004 and has since been a national event. To support ICT and computing skills development of female students in tertiary institutions, the Ladies ICT Summit (LITS) was initiated afterwards to reach out to young ladies in the country.
With the global advocacy for innovation and industrial development of national economies and with the identification of ICTs, and indeed Science and Technology as a driver of technological changes, we have deliberately upgraded our children and youth initiatives for all sexes including the ladies summit to a new dimension with emphasis on ‘Innovation’ and ‘development in a knowledge economy’. Hence, our projects for the sect are tagged “e-innovate Nigeria – Stop Downloading… Start Uploading” to encourage the younger generation to think of ideas, inventions, create products, services, become innovative and indeed entrepreneurial for self sustenance, wealth / job creation to be able to build a sustainable Nigerian economy that can meet up with the national goal of Vision 20:2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
We also introduced Awards and Honours to encourage and boost performances in ICTs and other work-life endeavours of women and youths across Nigeria. The High Tech Awards for Women and Youths started in 2012 as part of the activities of the Women ICT Summits yearly. It has since been an exciting and elating initiative that has created more awareness of ICTs and its impacts as well as facilitated the involvement of prominent, entrepreneurs and visionary Women and Young Nigerians to our programmes as they partner to foster more impactful engagements with the NGO.
To conform with global initiatives and career development of women and girls in ICTs, the High Tech Centre for Nigerian Women and Youths identified with the ITU international Day of Girls in ICT celebrated worldwide in April yearly, and has since been hosting the “Girls in ICT” day since 2013 as a day to sensitize the society of the need to build ICT career in women and girls as well as the social inclusion of the women folks in ICT mainstreaming internationally.
As Nigeria women and youths seek to become competitive and meet global challenges using ICTs, and to achieve our No 5 objective of networking with other national, regional and international organisations, we planned initiatives along this goal which are: ICT Exchange Programmes for Youths (Male and Female) in Africa and the Western Countries i.e. ISAC Abroad, and Women’s ICT Development Abroad Project (WIDAP). The first edition of Women Summit Abroad was held March 2015 at the United States of America to kick start our global ICT development for women and youths.
Having understood the interests of Nigerians at all locations and several calls from States to participate and have opportunity of being trained to use ICTs through our initiatives, we decided to take our projects to States by organising Sensitisation and Stakeholders’ workshops across States of Nigeria in 2015. We engaged young men and women who were willing to serve as State Coordinators on our behalf to commence the State initiatives and started with 5 states (Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos) in the South West; Rivers and Cross-river States in the South -South and Niger State and Abuja –FCT in the North Central Zones of Nigeria. Although we have calls and willing people to hold forth for Sokoto, kebbi, kano, Kaduna, Edo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, Imo and Plateau States, we are yet to reach out due to limited financial resources at the moment.
We are happy to note that this outreach encouraged our Youth ISAC Camps during the 2015 year as we are able to host camps at Ibadan-Oyo State, Portharcourt-Rivers State and Abuja –FCT for the first time within a year.
We are also concerned about statistics and the effect or impact of ICTs on the Nigerian states as a matter of measuring developments and opportunities. We conduct Policy Research on topical issues relating to women, girls and youths in ICTs regularly and as occasion demands subject to available fund and supports.
We also facilitate a Facebook page and active website for women and youths to share knowledge, concerns and relevant information on national and global issues in relation to women and youth development in Information Technology from time to time