Monday, March 24, 2014

Advancing Nigerian Women in Information Technology

Focused groups and associations play a major role in overcoming the challenges faced by girls and women in Information Technology and related male dominated fields. One such body is NIWIIT (Nigerian Women In Information Technology), an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS). NCS is Nigeria’s foremost Information Technology (IT) network with membership strength of Over 10,000, comprising IT Professionals, Interest groups and Stakeholders having footprints in Business, Government and Academia. NCS is the national platform advancing Information Technology Research, Practice and Innovation in Nigeria.

Still relatively young, NIWIIT was established in July 2012 when the national executive was inaugurated by the then NCS President, Sir Demola Aladekomo during the NCS Conference at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. Dr Adeola Ilechukwu emerged as the President of NIWIIT. Interestingly, it was while Dr Ilechukwu was 2nd Vice President of NCS that she took up the challenge to facilitate the inauguration of this interest group in NCS.

In addition to Dr. Ilechukwu, the NIWIIT national executive expectedly comprises of those who had shown proven commitment to women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Math (STEM). 

NIWIIT National Executive at NCS Conference in Osun State

Induction of new members took place at the 2013 NCS Conference at Iloko-Ijesa, Osun state of Nigeria. Members were inducted in different categories of Professional Members, Non Professional Members and students. NIWIIT has become an increasingly diverse and growing network with members in various fields in industry, research and education. The interest group also has chapters in Imo, Enugu, Lagos, Abuja, Kogi, Ogun, Abia (although some are yet to be inaugurated).

Activities NIWIIT has carried out so far include: Awareness creation in states, Mobilization of women in IT, Inauguration of chapters and induction of members. Innformation from NIWIIT states that “This interest group has an imperative to empower and encourage women working in the field of Information and Communication Technologies. NIWIIT will work with government, interest groups and other stakeholders to achieve objectives for women in IT in unique and innovative ways. Events and activities will recognize the impact of women in ICT, while promoting the advancement of women in ICTs. NIWIIT is focused on increasing the active participation and contribution at all levels in the IT industry.”

It is expected that the group has well thought out, future plans and projects to fulfill its mandate. If NIWIIT is to become one of the top recognized organizations advancing the cause of women and girls in IT in Nigeria, it must address issues relating to capacity building, while facilitating the contribution of women and girls in the nation’s technological development. It should embrace purposeful networking - to exchange ideas, share experiences, highlight success stories, monitor progress, collaborate, mentor and build capacities. 

Women in ICT blog wishes NIWIIT well!

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Nigeria Computer Society

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