Castries – Saint Lucia – 12th May 2023 – Scores of students, mostly girls from across the five Member States of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) participated in the Directorate’s Girls in ICT 2023 Virtual Tech Talk and Training. The event was held on May 9th under the theme ‘Digital Skills for Life’. Since 2011, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been coordinating Girls in ICT Day annually to inspire and encourage girls to pursue a future in ICTs towards bridging the digital gender divide. The ITU and its partners from around the world use the observance to encourage young women and girls to pursue their studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other fields.
In her opening remarks, ECTEL’s Acting Managing Director, Ms. Cheryl Hector Fontenelle said, “The theme for the event is important because currently the governments of the ECTEL Member States, are implementing policies designed to digitally transform the economies making it more efficient to perform a number of tasks, therefore, new digital skills will be required by all citizens.” She went on to say, “For our part, ECTEL will be promoting affordable access to high quality and reliable broadband service, and as young ladies, you must avail yourselves of new skills and take advantage of the opportunities to become accomplished entrepreneurs in this digital sphere.”
Thereafter, the participants were in for a treat as the two guest speakers and two trainers shared their stories about why they chose ICT careers, the struggles they encountered, how they overcame them and the many benefits they have experienced over the years. In her brief yet impactful presentation, Ms. Michele Marius, ICT Pulse Director (Saint Lucia), encouraged the female participants to not be intimidated by the STEM subjects. Instead, she told them to be confident, have a positive attitude and be prepared to prod through the subjects. She noted that a lot of the inventions and strides made in science have come from women, giving the example that the Chief Technical Officer for the company that created the ChatGPT Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot, is a woman, therefore pointing to the fact that girls have a place the ICT field. According to Ms. Marius, “STEM subjects give you more options especially in a world that has become more digital. STEM positions you for success in the long term, so ensure that you are equipped with skills that will allow you to have many choices to succeed in the future.”
Meanwhile, in an engaging presentation, the second speaker, Ms. Simone Joseph-Ollivierre, the Assistant Director, EGovernment Unit, Information Technology Services Division (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) encouraged participants to do what they are passionate about and find a creative way to incorporate ICT in their career. She explained how traditional careers can take on a new twist when merged with ICT. For example, she told the students who had an interest in medicine that they don’t have to set up a brick and mortar business, instead they can explore telemedicine. Those who might be interested in real estate can offer virtual tours to prospective buyers, both local and overseas, without being in the physical space. She ended her presentation by allowing participants a moment to say positive ‘I am…’ affirmations about who they would like to be in the future.
Following the insightful talks, participants were then given an opportunity to acquire practical digital skills from our two trainers. Ms. Suean Benoire, Graphic Designer at the OECS Commission (Saint Lucia) delivered a comprehensive presentation on ‘Graphic Designs that Wow!’ using any design software or platform. She also carried out a live demonstration of how to create a design using Adobe Illustrator. Additionally, Ms. Medisha Augustine-Casimir, Digital Marketer & Brand Strategist, Apachy Solutions (Commonwealth of Dominica) gave participants a thorough overview of how to create stunning designs using Canva, she also carried out live demonstrations using the platform.
Following the presentations, a follow up Graphic Design Competition was launched. The competition runs from May 9th to June 6th, and the winners will be announced on June 28, 2023. The competition is open to girls from ECTEL’s Member States ages 11 to 14 and 15 to 18. Each category will be awarded with a first prize of EC$500, 2nd – EC$300 and a US$50 Amazon Gift card for the most likes attained on social media.
Subsequently, the vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. Janelle Augustin-Henry, ECTEL’s Information Systems Manager who wrapped up by saying, “To borrow some indisputable words from an educator and IT Proponent, David Warlick, technology is ‘the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.’ As we end, we truly hope that after this morning’s session you don’t simply see the world through the lens of technology, but instead, you see the lens itself and grasp the opportunities it offers.” The entire event including the talks and trainings can be accessed on our Facebook page: https://fb.watch/ksJQX4yN4-/ and https://fb.watch/ksR4IKDGCE/.
Since 4th May 2000, ECTEL has been the regional regulatory body advising the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (NTRCs) on electronic communications matters in its five (5) Member States, namely: the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In simple terms, ECTEL works with the NTRCs to promote consumer rights and harmonised benefits in the electronic communications sector in its Member States.
Visit www.ectel.int or follow us @ectel on Facebook and YouTube and @ectelauthority on Instagram and Twitter for more information about ECTEL’s work.
Subscribe and receive email notifications and Newsletters