|dot-GOV Provides Low-Income Women with Technology Skills
dot-GOV recently awarded a subcontract to the Institute for International Education (IIE) to implement a collaborative project with CISCO Networking Academies that provides information technology training to low-income Asian and African women.
Over 430 scholarships will be provided to women in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia and Sri Lanka. The women will be trained at CISCO's Networking Academies located in each country. For every $1 USAID invests in the networking academies, CISCO invests $8.
Addressing the Gender Digital Divide
There is a dearth of women who have the skills to work at the policy or business level with telecommunications or in the ICT industry. The project goal is to create a core of female IT professionals who will be employed by the emerging IT industry in each country.
The women selected for the project are asked to mentor other women interested in ICTs and serve as role models to girls. The impact of the project will be greater diversification of the IT industry, and increased opportunities for economic security and independence for women.
Upon graduation, these women will join the ranks of CISCO-trained experts around the world who are entering middle- to upper-income jobs. They will have the skills to build a secure economic future for themselves and their families as well as contribute to the growth of the IT field in their countries.
The women will learn to design, build and maintain computer networks, preparing them to be certified as networking professionals at international industry standards. In addition, they learn web design, IT essentials, cabling, Java and UNIX. To ensure that each woman is equipped for the swiftly changing global job market, the CISCO Program emphasizes math, science, writing and problem-solving skills as well. Follow-on activities for the scholars specific to each country are being designed.
Scholarships for Women from Asia and Near East
The first round of scholarships has been announced for women in Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka, with a deadline of 1 December 2003 for applicants.
A bilingual (English and French) website has been established for women to learn more about the program and obtain application forms: http://www.iie.org/wcoast/wit.html.
Outreach to Women
Extensive outreach is also occurring within each country by USAID Missions, U.S. Embassies, and CISCO Academies to make sure women can obtain applications. IIE has also posted information about the scholarship program to many listservs and electronic bulletin boards concerning women's issues or ICTs. Criteria for selection include ability to learn and test in English and understand mathematics at the secondary school level; a potential to pursuing a career in ICTs and make a contribution, commitment to serve as a mentor to other women, and financial need.
In all seven countries, USAID is actively supporting IT programs, which are creating opening up making it possible for the women to contribute to the growth of the IT field in their countries as well as build a secure economic future for themselves and their families.
dot-GOV's work with CISCO is funded by USAID/EGAT/EIT (under the dot-GOV Leader Award No. GDG-A-00-01-00009-00).