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Girls Create Innovations to Address Social Issues


JIS: Approximately 90 girls and young women from 15 high schools, universities and community colleges across the country competed for attractive prizes at the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Girls in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Day Caribbean ‘Hackathon’ on Thursday (April 27).


The all-day event, held at the Spanish Court Hotel’s Worthington Conference Centre in New Kingston, saw the young women creating innovative ICT-based solutions to address social issues such as domestic violence, cyberbullying, sexual assault, child abuse, sustainable development and climate change.


Activities include mobile app-building, animation, robotics, digital video production and digital artworks, and web development. Winners received cash prizes, bursaries, and mobile phones, among other things.


The Hackathon, organised by a group of women consultants in Jamaica, through a joint partnership between Cotton Tree Consulting Ltd. and Change Makers Development Ltd., took place simultaneously in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.


Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, who observed the work of the participants, said the Government fully endorses the initiative.


“Women play a critical role in ICT, and I want to take the opportunity to encourage more women to get involved in ICT. It is the new frontier as it relates to economic development, and it is important for women to play a role in this regard,” he told JIS News.


He said the Government continues to introduce programmes to encourage Jamaicans to integrate ICT in their daily lives.


“Our public Wi-Fi initiative is one such programme, the community access points (CAP) sites, our support for the Tablets in Schools initiative, and programmes targeted at our senior citizens,” he noted.


Meanwhile, Principal Consultant for Cotton Tree Consulting, Bridget Lewis, said the daylong ICT Hackathon will give the participants an opportunity to envision themselves not only as users of technology but as creators.


“We are saying girls have the ability to occupy this (technology) space,” she pointed out.


The Hackathon, held to mark the ITU’s International Girls in ICT Day, aimed to encourage girls to pursue studies and careers in ICT.


The annual observance seeks to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider car​eers in the growing field of ICT, enabling technology companies to reap the benefits of greater female participation in the ICT sector.


To date, more than 240,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 7,200 celebrations of International Girls in ICT Day in 160 countries worldwide.


CAPTION: Minister of Energy, Science and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley.