Veronica Nuwamanya, a young woman working with Maendeleo Foundation shares why she is passionate about empowering girls and women with ICT skills.

“While in Secondary school, I opted to offer computer studies at my O’level. The biggest challenge I faced was that girls had little chance to touch the computer. One computer was shared amongst 7-10 students and the boys always used to dominate the computers because they were more confident and aggressive. Teachers always gave boys the role of leading the practical exercises because they were believed, to easily adapt to technology and to love exploring

I was really curious to learn how to do things on the computer and always wondered how it felt like….

With a group of other girls, we requested the computer lab attendant for more time in the computer lab so that we could practice, explore and get all the class assignments done. The more access and practice I had on the computer, the more confident I felt about myself and abilities. By the end of my O’level, I was very familiar with using computers and walked with my head held high among the boys because I could do what they did. I wasn’t scared to share my views in class, anymore! I actively and confidently participated in class discussions. Fellow students and teachers freely involved me in more activities.

Through University, while some other students dodged class presentations because they could not use a computer, I always had the confidence to stand in front of the class and click the mouse because my secondary school had given me a good foundation. I was one of the few girls at University that were brave enough to lead a group presentation.

As a development studies student, I wanted to explore how to use my computer skills to empower communities and I decided to do my internship at Maendeleo Foundation.

While there, I was excited to see girls exposed to computer skills at an early stage. I happily had a reason to wake up every day, knowing that I can share my experience and skills with many more girls and women.

I am now employed by Maendeleo Foundation as an ICT trainer where I have an opportunity to build skills of more girls and women .I am motivated when I see girls and women get past their shyness to use the computer during the first lesson. Throughout the training, I watch with excitement as I see them; start to explore, become creative and confident to speak out and share their skills with others.

When the girls and women see me teaching, they are motivated, encouraged and feel that “even a woman can operate a computer”

Every day I wake up energized knowing that my work is giving more girls and women a chance to become technologically competitive.

With Uganda’s growing youth population and increasing competition for jobs and other opportunities, I believe that our work is imperative in promoting women’s employability and financial independence.”

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