» Young Girls and ICT: The Perfect Combination to Fight Poverty in Burkina Faso
02.11.2016 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Young Girls and ICT: The Perfect Combination to Fight Poverty in Burkina Faso

©UNESCO/M. Piccio

To reduce the digital divide within the country, Burkina Faso has, over the years, supported actions to diffuse and use Information and Communications Technology in favor of women. Despite the favorable political context, more efforts are needed to address the continuing divide.

ICTs are fundamental for youth development. Their spectacular growth gives them an enormous potential for sustainable development.

To benefit from this potential, it is necessary to develop a creative vision for ICTs to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship. ICTs, within the global village in which we live, constitute a response to global challenges that youth face. To encourage growth, creativity, and innovation, and to offer a better future to young people from Burkina, UNESCO supported the African Youth Network, an African NGO promoting information and education for youth, in implementing capacity building initiatives for young girls in charge of associations on ICT use.

104 young girls were trained in three sessions, respectively at Boromo, province of Balé, Ziniaré, province of Oubritenga and Diébougou, and the province of Bougouriba in July and August 2016. The pedagogical approach used both theoretical and practical aimed to promote the integration of ICTs into entrepreneurial initiatives.

During the theoretical aspect of the training, the girls were trained in basic use of the Internet, the web, mobile phones, GSM networks, smartphones, laptops, Ipad, Ipod, etc. Finally, during the practical session, the girls learned to use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Viber and Whatsapp to share information, for job searches, and to market products (e.g.: invite friends to an event, promote its activities, market products online, interact with friends via instant messaging, share photos and videos with friends and family).

The objective of this training was to optimize the use of mobile applications in the fight against poverty and above all to contribute to employment creation and the country's economic growth. Capacity building sessions enabled these young women leaders to have access to more information to increase their chance of getting a job. Moreover, they learned the basics of designing and creating mobile solutions contributing to problem-solving. The objective was, on one hand, to expose girls to existing mobile applications, and on the other hand, to help them better understand how they are designed and operate; the overall aim was to reduce poverty among youth through increased use of information communication and technology,, but also to increase ownership by the populations, especially female youth, exploring advantages and opportunities offered by mobile applications for their personal development.

This capacity building initiative is part of UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative and The Information for All Programme (IFAP). The UNESCO Youth Mobile Initiative, created in 2014, offers introductory courses in computer programming (learning-to-code) and problem solving (coding-to-learn). The initiative targets young boys and girls to acquire basic technical skills and the necessary confidence for the development, promotion and marketing of mobile applications that address local sustainability issues. By 2017, the initiative’s overall objective is to allow at least 25,000 young people to develop the skills of the 21st century to fully participate in addressing the challenges of sustainable development in their communities. The initiative introduces young people to entrepreneurship and to create viable employment opportunities in the mobile phone industry and ICT Sector. The Information for All Programme is an intergovernmental programme created in 2000 by UNESCO, which aims to mobilize new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information. The Information For All Programme works in close collaboration with other intergovernmental organizations and international NGOs, in particular with those that are specialized in the management and preservation of information for its promotion in local communities.

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