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  • Project ASHA

International Women's Day: DigitALL Equality and Inclusion for Rural Women and Girls

photo credit: GSMA

The United Nation's theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality" This theme is aligned with ProjectASHA’s focus on strengthening digital literacy, equal opportunities, empowerment and inclusion, especially for marginalized girls and women in Nigeria.

In line with the UN IWD 2023 theme, ProjectASHA has over the years prioritized digital inclusion by providing accessible digital training and safe spaces for women and young girls in hard-to-reach regions of Lagos State. This was a strong desire of the late Vweta Chadwick, who was committed to giving vulnerable women unhindered access to the internet and digital opportunities.

Through the Sheroes ICT Hub commissioned in 2021, in partnership with the Mandela Washington Fellowship and in Vweta’s honour, ProjectASHA has reached a range of 250 rural girls with free basic hands-on ICT skills in Isolo and Ojota communities of Lagos State. It is our drive to unleash the potentials of rural women and young girls through the leveling power of the internet.

The pandemic reinforced the need to expand digital access to disadvantaged women and girls as it revealed the vast disproportionately digitally marginalized women and girls in Nigeria.

ProjectASHA's observance of the International Women's Day expands the need for our focus groups—rural women and girls—to receive equal support to streamline digital solutions to meet their immediate development needs.

Innovations such as digital marketplaces, digital health, virtual training centers, and safe spaces for networking, will give strength to the voices of these groups.

With increased access to the internet, women and girls can access free information, leverage peer groups and online learning, to become effective changemakers in the rural landscape.

At ProjectASHA, we work firmly to lower digital gender biases by reducing inequities and promoting strong justice. We are building a community of ‘DigitALLY’ resilient women and girls in under-resourced communities. We have done so by;

  • Providing basic to advanced training for rural girls and women.

  • Provide access to a safe, free, and inclusive internet for girls and young women.

  • organized mobile ICT training in focus communities through volunteer efforts.

  • Deepened partnerships with policymakers to highlight the relevance of ICT for grassroots girls and women.

Beyond the IWD, there is more work to do, and we cannot do this alone. We are building strategic partnerships to expand our reach. We call for donations of laptops, computer sets, and human resources (individuals and organizations) to establish more ICT hubs to serve rural communities.

"By doing these, we will ensure that disadvantaged and vulnerable women and girls also benefit equitably from digital and technological innovations for their improved health and well-being." - WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti

As the world embraces equity and celebrates International Women’s Day, talking is not enough. It is important to act. More than ever, we encourage stakeholders, civic society groups, and the government to support the digital inclusion, equality and empowerment movement at the grassroots and state levels






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