By Peter Kanjere, PRO
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) Limited and Plan International Malawi have urged stakeholders in the country to step up efforts to ensure that the girl-child has easy access to digital technology for them to acquire relevant skills.
Officials from Escom, Plan and an invited guest made the call in their speeches during activities commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child, belatedly, at the State-owned utility company’s Mzuzu Power Station on Friday, 22 October 2021.
Addressing the girls numbering over 50, guest speaker Florence Chagoma bemoaned limited access, which the girl-child has to digital technology in Malawi, saying there was a need to close such gaps.
Chagoma, who is an ICT lecturer at Mzuzu University, said girls need access to digital technology so that they, too, can acquire skills relevant for the modern labour market.
“These days all activities are tied to technology, so we need to understand how we can use technology to build skills that can help us, girls, to occupy spaces in society. Technology has closed the distance barrier gap. Therefore, it is important that we make technology available to the girl-child. Our role is also to help expose you to technology through digital literacy which is about teaching you skills because most of the skills that you shall require in the industry are digital,” Chagoma said.
In his speech marking the start of the commemoration, Adamson Chawanda, who represented ESCOM Acting Regional Manager for the North, said it was the wish of the Corporation to empower girls and protect them from harmful practices that could hinder their progress in school.
Plan International Malawi Programme Officer, Silence Banda, said they were a girl child-centred organisation on a campaign to ensure that the girls have easy access to digital technology such as the internet; hence, the joining hands with ESCOM in the commemoration.
Taking her turn, ESCOM Social and Gender Inclusion Manager, Elube Chienda, said the corporation has a Gender and Social Inclusion policy that seeks to offer female and male employees equal opportunities and create a conducive working environment.
ESCOM and Plan commemorated the Day under the ‘Bring Your Daughter to Work’ campaign that saw some Mzuzu-based employees from the two organisations inviting their daughters to take part in the day’s activities such as a round table discussion, speeches, quiz on ICT, motivational talks and mentorship initiatives.
This year, global commemorations for the Day took place on October 11 under the theme: ‘Digital Generation. Our Generation ’ in recognition of the gender divide in connectivity and use of devices in ICT.
On December 19 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges they face around the world.
MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD
—Some of the invited girls pose with Escom and Plan placards at Mzuzu Power Station on Friday.