WITSI Celebrates Girls in ICT Day, 2021

The COVID19 pandemic impacts gave the Women in IT Solomon Islands (WITSI) and the IT Society of Solomon Islands (ITSSI), the opportunity of taking its Girls in ICT Day event to collaborate with various schools in Honiara and the Provinces.

This year, 2021, marks the first time in history for WITSI and ITSSI to host a virtual conference to participate in and commemorate the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) International Girls in ICT Day together with various schools. Thanks to Zoom, this one-day event brought together senior female high school students and TVET female students from twenty-three (23) different schools within the country.

Robotics was the catch phrase of the day. More than 150 female participants from all over the Solomon Islands had the opportunity to build a robot and control the robot’s movements from an app on their mobile device. WITSI and ITSSI facilitators on that day, were astonished at how each group of girls tackled their hands-on tasks with building their robots finishing off ahead of allocated time. Their shrieks of delight when they had their robots running around on the floor was an encouraging experience for facilitators as this also shows we have some enthusiastic next generation of engineers participating in this event. Prizes proudly sponsored by Pan Oceanic Bank (POB) and Bemobile were presented to participants.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from the Woodford International School’s Robotics team that represented the Solomon Islands in the FIRST Global Robotics Competition in 2019 in Dubai. They were such an inspiration to our female participants and facilitators. We also had the wonderful opportunity to have the CEO of Robogals Global Ms Morgan Marshall, as our oversea guest speaker. She was truly inspirational, and she showed participants why we need robots today. She also spoke on the Robogals strategies and mission which was such an inspiration for WITSI as well.

Participants were also introduced to Web Development during the event. Brisbane based WITSI member, Sara Cave led the girls in an Introduction to HTML coding exercise. The girls learnt to write up some basic HTML coding and saw how it affected their simple webpage. It was a first for a lot of the participants to write up some basic code. It was truly an honour to have our very own Solomon Islands female web developer, show our girls that they too can become an IT professional and be proficient enough to be employed be it in Australia or anywhere else around the globe.

It is envisaged that the hands on activity with the robots and web development along with the Kahoot game-based learning platform and some tips on Cyber Security, would inspire and motivate our young females to take up STEM careers and to be the innovative and open minded engineers and ICT leaders for tomorrow’s challenge as we ‘Expand Horizons and Change Attitudes.’

Our sincere gratitude to the event’s major sponsors; The Australian Government through the Australia’s Solomon Islands Governance Program, Solomon Islands National Commission for UNESCO through the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, the Ministry of Communication and Aviation and the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society (PICISOC) for making this event a successful one.

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