SheLeadsIT, led by Nicole Pitter Patterson (WEI Trade) and Bridget Lewis, a member of the WEI network executed Caribbean Girls Hack 2019 Hackathon, an innovative initiative to bridge the digital skills gender divide; delivering on our commitments at WEI Forward 2017 Forum at Wilton Park UK. Caribbean Girls Hack is supported by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Girls in ICT Day and EQUALS programs building the capacities of young women and girls in tech.
Caribbean Girls Hack successfully engaged over 2000 participants, through online tech skills training, tech expos and online webinars led by experts in two critical areas facing the Caribbean – Gender Based Violence (#FutureSafeGirls) and Climate Change and Resilience (#ClimateSafeFutureSafe). The Hackathon brought together girls from high schools and university teams in Jamaica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago to innovate on tech solutions to tackle these problems, as empowered change agents.
In August the Barbados Summer Hackathon will be completed.
Tech experts provided training in various ICT activities and tools including introduction to coding, podcasting, artificial intelligence (AI), social media campaign design and development, animation, video/documentary production, mobile app development, delivering a winning pitch and participating in cutting edge IBM technology training. This 2019 program of activities was executed in collaboration with regional technology partner, Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC) Tech Clubs. This important SDG5 activity delivers on a number of SDGs; including SDG 9 (Inclusive ICTs) and SDG17 (PPP) working with relevant government ministries in science and technology, women & gender entities supported by the private sector and international donor agencies.
To date, this regional Hackathon has benefited Caribbean girls bringing the insights of many role models (male and female) in technology from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, NASA, Brocade, MIT, the Web Foundation, ITU, UNECLAC and others via video conference, along with SheTech Town Halls where female tech speakers from Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, have shared inspiring stories to encourage Caribbean girls in tech, motivating students to look beyond conventional career roles and to take full advantage of the new opportunities offered by the digital revolution.
The results thus far are evidence that Caribbean girls have been empowered by increased awareness on the SDGs, particularly GBV and Climate Change, and the tech tools created exemplify problem solving, critical thinking, increased leadership capabilities and tech skills in a competitive environment.
On May 14 2019, SheLeadsIt was one of three organizations recognized by High Commissioner Laurie Peters, Global Affairs Canada #FacesforEquality Campaign in Technology and Innovation, for our work empowering girls and women in tech in Jamaica.
Stay tuned for more information on upcoming Caribbean Girls Hack 2019 activities!