2nd SMART Sistas ICT Camp for Girls closes

SMART Sistas 2017 ICT Camp for Girls participants with their certificates pose with their guardians and GCIO Gerard Metsan (l) and TRR Regular Dalcy Baniala (r)

A week-long Sisters Mastering

Advanced Real Technology, SMART Sistas 2017 ICT Camp for Girls closed last Friday evening at the Convention Center in Port Vila with the presentation of certificates to the ten girls who participated. The girls attending with their guardians also went home with a laptop computer each.

This was the second Information Communication Technology (ICT) Camp for Girls to be held after the first one last year also attended by ten participants accompanied by their guardians.

“ICT can make you powerful. It can empower you to be useful members of your society,” Chief Government Information Officer, Gerard Metsan, told the girls in his speech at the closing ceremony.

“ICT is a good tool, but when you don’t use it in a good way, it can cause a communication breakdown or your relationship within your family to break down,” he cautioned, adding “You must be careful that you listen to your parents always and you must always respect ICT as a tool for helping you.”

Metsan urged the guardians to ensure they help the girls maintain their interest in the subject because he said: “it is important for the sustainability of the program as the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) will be support next year’s camp,” he assured everyone including the organizers of the camp.

The Regulator of Telecommunication and Radiocommunication Regulator (TRR) who are also sponsors, Dalcy Baniala said bringing up girls in ICT was her passion to see girls become skilled in the use of ICT. She challenged the girls to learn to master ICT as a tool so they can become innovators.

“Today, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Americans and other nationalities produce technologies and we get to use them. Why not we build ICT tools that they in turn can use?”

The camp was organized and run by the SMART Sistas Committee, Chaired by Rodney Philemon, with sponsorship from OGCIO, TRR, Peace Corp, TVL, Computer World, Digicel, Garden Code, Pacific Group Ltd and Reserve Bank of Vanuatu among others.

Chairman of SMART Sistas Committee Rodney Philemon said the program covered an overview of career paths, coding training, leadership skills, and some graphic design. The participants and their guardians had the opportunity to visit the booths at the ICT Days on Wednesday and Thursday last week at the Convention Center and the Data Center of Digicel.

SMART Sisters is an initiative started in 2014 by the former Director of Peace Corp, Keith Honda, who saw the gap in ICT for girls and ladies to become ICT leaders. With human resources polled together by TRR, OGCIO, VNPF, Reserve Bank of Vanuatu, Wan Smolbag, the committee was formed and the first SMART Sistas ICT Camp for Girls was held at the same time last year also attended by ten girls.

As a result of last year’s camp, in March this year SMART Sistas received an invitation from First Global, based in the USA asking Vanuatu to take part in this this year’s robotic challenge in Washington, DC in July to which three participants from last year’s camp will go.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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