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Women: The Silent Drivers in the ICT Industry

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When I was in my S.6 vacation, it was my mother who suggested that I attend some computer classes that had just been introduced at National Teachers’ College, Kaliro. Attending a computer class was not anywhere near my mind. Now look at what I am doing today, repairing computers, building websites, teaching ICT and running an internet cafe. If it wasn’t for my mothers’ initiative, I wouldn’t be the person I am in this field.

A survey by UCC in 2014 showed that only 6% of women in Uganda were online. Even in developed countries, the gap is still wide for example according to a survey in 2020, women in the US held only 25% of computing jobs. And more with the statistics, the ICT Teachers Association of Uganda has only 9 ladies out of the 57 member executive.

However, over the years I have used ICT, I have noticed that the role of women in building this sector has gone under estimated. Personally, I was pushed into a class I had no interest in – yes, by my mother. The role this gender is doing in building the ICT industry should not go un-researched, undetected and un-appreciated. I will give some examples in the following paragraphs.

The Women dominated ICT department of St. Peter’s SSS Nsambya

I once worked in the computer lab of St. Peter’s SSS Nsambya and during that time, the ICT department had 3 ladies and 3 gentlemen. As I write now, the department is headed by Namatovu Caroline a lady and leader worth every right. The department currently has 1 male member among 6 females.

Ms. Chrsitine manages one of the computer labs of St. Peter’s SSS Nsambya.

St. Peter’s SSS Nsambya has a population of close to 2,000 and every year, the school releases over 400 candidates who opt to do ICT and Computer Studies. As these students go out and fly higher in the field, it is important to remember the women behind the journey. I remember Tr. Carol labouring to help me with Microsoft Access challenges in the 6 years I was there and can’t leave her efforts unappreciated.

The all women ICT Department of Trinity College Nabbingo

Trinity College Nabbingo is one school with a well equipped ICT department as evidenced by their four hundred capacity ICT building that also serves as their e-library. The all female department drives the ICT of the school for the close to 2000 students and staff of the premier boarding girls’ school. The school also has an ICT club to nurture young talent in the filed of ICT.

Ms. Tulina (In blue) is the current Head of the ICT Department of Trinity College Nabbingo. In this picture, me (Writer) and Mukalele Rogers had gone to introduce Web Design skills to members of the ICT club.

The staff at my internet cafe

I left St. Peter’s SSS Nsambya in 2015 to concentrate on my side hustle, E-zone Internet Cafe. In all the 14 years of its existence, I have employed only 6 boys – who were usually in the vac years. My current staff has 4 ladies and only 1 gent. Over 50 girls have spent their vacation working at this Internet cafe.

My staff took a 160 km journey to pay a courtesy visit to my mother who helped me take the firs step in my tech journey.

We can’t go on under estimating the wonderful work of these girls who have driven a brand from inception to the name it is now. When we count the number of happy clients my female team have helped with their work, the role of women in the field of ICT must never go unseen.

Female dominated computer classes at E-zone School of Computing

My holiday computer classes and short courses at E-zone School of Computing are dominated by girls. Most of them come to learn ICT skills that enhance their productivity at their jobs and therefore attain some degree of job security.

Female students of E-zone School of Computing

Most of my students are brought to me by their mothers. It is the mothers that keep checking on me through phone calls just to make sure their children attain a reasonable level of proficiency in the use of computers and related equipment. And when their sons and daughters soar high in the field, we seldom get back to the beginning to give credit to them.

Happy Women’s Day to them

In honour of the silent movers in the ICT industry, it’s my honour to wish these hard working ladies a happy Women’s Day. I wish to salute the ladies in the ICT Teachers’ Association of Uganda and thank them for the tremendous work they are doing in grooming their students to become the best they can be in the world of IT.

Stephen Dumba - ICT Teachers Association of Uganda

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Stephen Dumba is the co-ordinator Central Region ICT Teachers Association of Uganda and Director E-zone School of Computing. Besides teaching, he is a veteran Computer Repair Technician, a Web Designer and a regular speaker at tech events and teachers’ workshops.
+256 772 111 223 / +256 752 111 223 / stephen.dumba@gmail.com
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