Context: Increasingly, employers in Ghana require job applicants to have Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) skills. While Ghana’s 2007 educational reforms require all students in pre-tertiary institutions to acquire basic ICT literacy skills, a lack of qualified teachers and functioning computers, as well as overcrowded classrooms compromise the attainment of this goal. In Northern Ghana, the average ratio of students to computers is 50:1, which makes it difficult for students to develop “hands on” ICT skills. Where ICT classes are available, participation among girls is often much lower than that of boys.
Organization: Founded in 2005, Savana Signatures (SS) builds the ICT skills of female teachers and youth in an effort to increase access to information and job opportunities and challenge gender stereotypes. SS recognized that if there were more female ICT teachers, female students would have role models to encourage them to pursue ICT. SS began training female teachers to use technology in their classrooms and formed the Female ICT Teachers Association (FICTTA) to provide female ICT teachers with a support network. With the assistance of FICTTA, SS works directly with youth, organizing ICT clubs, intra-school competitions, ICT conferences with government ministries and business leaders, and offers networking services to local schools to enhance ICT connectivity in the Northern region.
Current Grant: EMpower’s second grant to Savana Signatures supports the second year of a two-year girls-only ICT training program for 100 primary school girls, and provides one year of training on basic coding and programming for 10 junior high school girls. The goal is to help girls recognize the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in today’s world; use ICT skills to improve their performance in school; and consider pursuing an ICT-related field in the future.