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The Impact of IT Skills on Girls’ Education

Omega Gondwe is an 18-year-old student who studied at Kaseye Girls Secondary School where we had recently installed donated computers. She later was able to graduate and enrol at The Polytechnic of Malawi. She shared with us her thoughts on the shifting perception of IT being a male-dominated field, challenging stereotypes, as well as her thoughts on her future prospects brought about by learning IT skills. You can watch Omega’s full interview here or below.

They think that ICT skills can only be done by boys because girls can’t manage it. So it means a lot to me because I get to prove that gender inequality and that the gender divide is wrong.

Omega was asked to place herself on a scale of 1-10, ranking how confident she was using computers before using the PCs we installed. At this point she placed herself, on that scale of 1-10, at a 4.

A lot of the time students are taught how to use the computers without much, if any, hands-on learning time – often due to the lack of available computers to learn on. She recalls trying to learn IT skills huddled around a computer with 2, or more often, 3 other students trying to learn at the same time.

After getting hands-on experience using computers and software, she has confidently placed herself at an 8 on that same scale, showing she believes that she has made a great degree of progress as a student learning IT skills!

With the ability to use a computer to access learning materials and resources, it has never been easier for students like Omega to learn more about their chosen subject matters and be more confident in furthering their studies in university.

Omega also wishes to push the stereotypes out the window; like so many young girls in Malawi, Omega wants to choose an education, career path and future that she is interested in and can be proud of, without the preconceived idea of certain fields being unsuitable for girls to explore.

I think it is very important for Malawian girls to get access or just to learn about IT because in most cases I feel like it’s mostly boys who get to use computers because that’s the stereotype, that’s how people put it, that it’s only guys that can do IT things.

Omega has bolstered her skills and confidence in computer studies and now considers herself poised to pursue a career as a Network Administrator or IT Manager.

We are honoured to have played a small part in supporting Omega’s journey and wish her all the best for her future career. We’ll certainly be watching out to see what’s next for our latest Malawian IT Heroine!

Want to help our computer donation charity to transform the lives of young people across the globe? Head to our computer donation page to explore how to get involved.