Moldova ramps up IT training for girls

Created to boost Moldova's innovation capacity by teaching young women digital tech and IT skills, UN Women’s GirlsGoIT plans more local IT clubs for girls and an IT summer camp in 2016.

Date: Thursday, January 7, 2016

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“Girls Go IT” was a first summer camp in Moldova for young women who want to improve their IT skills. Photo: UN Women in Moldova/ Dorin Goian

After a successful 2015 that included Moldova’s first-ever IT summer camp for girls and a follow-up conference in October that created four local GirlsGoIT clubs, UN Women’s GirlsGoIT initiative will expand its activities in 2016 with IT workshops and events, more computer clubs for young women across Moldova and its 2nd summer IT camp.

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Young women aged 16 to 20, learned how to create and develop a web platform and how to create an innovative project in their community. Photo: UN Women in Moldova/ Dorin Goian

GirlsGoIT provides girls and young women with entrepreneurial start-up, digital tech and IT skills and encourages them to pursue a career in IT, long a male-dominated sector in Moldova. 

"At the summer school, I learned technical operations, project management and gained entrepreneurial and leadership skills. Now I am excited about creating a GirlsGoIT local chapter for girls and boys passionate about IT," said Ms. Diana Marusic, one of the summer camp participants.

A joint initiative by UN Women Moldova and Moldova’s eGovernment Center, National Association of Private ICT Companies (ATIC), Novateca and TEKEDU, GirlsGoIT successfully organised – with support from Google and Endava, a leading IT company – Moldova’s first-ever girls summer IT camp in August 2015.

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Attendees, who included girls from the Roma ethnic group and locomotive disabled girls, were taught web development tools HTML+CSS, Bootstrap, Python and Flask, discussed entrepreneurial IT sector ideas. Photo: UN Women in Moldova/ Dorin Goian

It then brought the young women back on 30 October to make them GirlsGoIT ambassadors and to establish local GirlsGoIT clubs. The conference, supported by the US Department of State and US Embassy in Moldova, led to the creation of local clubs in Calarasi, Chisinau, Salcuta and Ungheni. In addition, a manifesto platform that people can sign through their social media details key actions.

On 17-30 August 2015, 36 girls aged 16 to 20 years old from 15 districts attended GirlsGoIT’s summer camp in Bahmut village, in Ungheni district. Attendees, who included girls from the Roma ethnic group and locomotive disabled girls, were taught web development tools HTML+CSS, Bootstrap, Python and Flask, discussed entrepreneurial IT sector ideas, then worked in teams to create an innovative project for their home community.

"A project-based approach fosters the girls’ critical thinking, coding and programming skills and stimulates their entrepreneurial, team building and communications abilities," explained Mr. Abayomi Ogundipe, “Go Girls IT” programme manager.

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Six web social projects were created as a direct result of the summer camp: IMade, Shezatoare, Dodo, Miazazi, Eco-Viata (Eco-Life), Lanoi. Photo: UN Women in Moldova/ Dorin Goian

Six web social projects were created as a direct result of the summer camp: IMade, Shezatoare, Dodo, Miazazi, Eco-Viata (Eco-Life), Lanoi. These were assessed by project partners and IT engineers who shared their experience, which organisers hope will motivated more women to pursue a career in IT.

"A job in IT promotes both Moldova’s economic development and gender equality. The IT sector in Moldova can provide many new jobs. But to attract investments, Moldova needs a qualified workforce and must use the entire capacity of its population, not just half of it," said Mr. Dittrich Johan Hallberg, a United Nations coordinator specialist.