W.TEC Executive Director's Report 2022
Happy new year!
Here at W.TEC, we are incredibly excited about 2023, because we turn 15 this year. When we started operations in our tiny office in Sura Shopping Complex in Lagos Island in January 2008, even I could not have imagined how far-reaching W.TEC’s work would spread and the depth of impact we would have, touching 41,458 girls, boys, women, teachers and young people with special needs.
2022 was a year of breaking new ground and I would like to share some highlights with you.
January – March:
a.) W.TEC celebrated International Women’s Day by organising a well-attended webinar in collaboration with Oracle Academy and featuring speakers from Oracle Academy, IBM and System Specs, to enlighten female entrepreneurs about cybersecurity best practices for themselves and their businesses.
b.) As the world commemorated Zero Discrimination Day and World Down Syndrome Day, W.TEC made great strides with our Inclusive Technology for All (IT4ALL) programme. IT4ALL is a year-long programme implemented with the Children’s Developmental Centre (CDC) to help young people with developmental disabilities and special needs, such as Autism and Down’s syndrome integrate technology into their regular activities for learning and fun.
W.TEC marked the International Girls in ICT Day with 2 simultaneous events in Abuja and Lagos.
In Abuja, 102 girls from the MakeHer Space programme in Abuja, Nasarawa and Bauchi met for a day that featured a hackathon, engaging talks and mentorship circles aimed at spurring the girls to take their new skills further. The MakeHer Space project is an initiative designed by W.TEC in collaboration with Google to teach girls to create technology and engineering-based solutions that solve problems in their communities.
In Lagos, 20 secondary school students visited Microsoft’s Africa Development Centre, where they enjoyed presentations on careers in tech from Microsoft staff, quizzes, mentorship sessions, games, and a tour of the facilities.
W.TEC was selected for a 2nd ACT Foundation Grant for our SHE CAN with ICT programme, which is aimed at improving the productivity and profitability of women-owned businesses, by equipping them with in-depth practical digital technology skills and tools to catalyze their entrepreneurial growth in an increasingly technology-driven business environment. 635 women completed the programme with some receiving seed grants for their businesses.
a.) W.TEC participated in the 2022 Accelium Olympics for the first time. The Accelium Olympics are challenging online tournaments of strategy critical thinking, focus, and persistence. With support from the Sholly Smile Factory and Simply Un4gettable, W.TEC coached 50 female students to participate in the tournament. We were incredibly proud when one of our young women emerged the African and national Champion, as well as 10th in the world.
b.) We were blown away when the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp) reached out to us to provide digital skills training to 20 secondary school girls in Lagos State.
This was part of PenOp’s determination to contribute towards closing the Nigerian gender technology gap.
Another surprise came when we discovered that W.TEC had been selected by Airtel as an honouree on its Touching Lives television show. In addition to the publicity that our work garnered from being on the Africa-wide show, Airtel donated 10 laptops, 10 solar panels, 5 batteries and 30 Arduino kits to the organisation.
a. To the delight of our beneficiaries (and many of the staff), W.TEC held a physical edition of the She Creates STEM Camp for the first time since 2019. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the camp was organised as a virtual event for 2 years. This year’s camp was tagged ‘’Eco Innovators” and saw the girls using electronics, programming and engineering principles to build solutions aimed at addressing a variety of environmental problems.
b. We also organised an edition of the Early Innovators Camp for girls and boys aged 5 to 12 years, which featured electronics, game design, creative arts, and critical thinking sessions.
- TEC received a national commendation from the honorable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Nigeria for our work on the MakeHer Space programme. The Minister also presented a certificate to W.TEC for our Summit on the Information Society – WSIS 2020 Championship win on behalf of the United Nations Agency for ICTs. Although we received this award late due to the pandemic, hearing the commendations from the Hon. Minister on the work W.TEC is doing to bridge the gender gap in ICT was right on time.
We celebrated the International Day of Girl Child with 2 events for 200 girls. The first was organised at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) with their support and in partnership
with Union Bank; while the second was held at Oregun High School with the kind support of GlobalGiving in partnership with Cummins. In line with the year’s theme “Our Time is Now, Our Rights, Our Future”, both events included hands-on renewable energy workshops and mentorship sessions with staff of Cummins and Union Bank.
November – December:
a.) Following preparation that had taken us most of the year, in November, we launched the “She Talks Tech” radio show on Women FM 91.7 (WFM 91.7). With the tagline “Let’s help you love tech as much as we do”, She Talks Tech presents technology in a fun, accessible and practical way by discussing topical technology-related issues, breaking down jargon, sharing technology tips, and shining a much-needed spotlight on women’s contributions to technology.Launching this radio show brings us full-circle from a research report published by W.TEC in 2013 that highlighted the need for a greater diversity of women’s radio programming
to include subjects like technology, career development and education.
b.) Our foray into creating engaging multimedia content continued with the release of our first set of video tutorials on YouTube. And even more exciting, these videos featured some of W.TEC alumnae.
- To cap off this exciting month, W.TEC was selected as a recipient of the highly-competitive
F5 STEM grant, which will enable us to expand the W.TEC Academy (our afterschool technology clubs) into new states.
d During this period, we also held our Staying Safe Online workshop series in support of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Violence Against Women and Girls campaign. W.TEC’s programme was held in Lagos, Kwara and other states across Northern Nigeria. A total of 2200 girls and teachers learnt safer internet techniques during the workshops.
- Our mission is to build a pipeline of digitally-savvy girls and women and we are starting to see that manifested as our alumnae join our team to pay it forward to other girls and young women.
We were blessed to have two W.TEC beneficiaries on our team in 2022: Nifesimi Oso (She Creates Camp 2014) as Programme Assistant and Monsurat Oshinfisan (She Creates Camp 2013) completing her National Youth Service Corps with us.
b.) We also celebrated our longest-serving team member, Yemi Odutola who joined W.TEC in
2012 and celebrated his 10th anniversary.
As Mother Teresa famously said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
In all, this year emphasised the importance of partnerships to create meaningful and sustained impact and we thank our funders, supporters and partners whose financial resources, expertise, time and other resources enabled us reach 5,837 girls, women and young people.
We welcomed some new partners and supporters including GlobalGiving in partnership with Cummins, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp), Women FM 91.7, and Association of Nigerian Women in Business (ANWIB). We were also blessed to continue on with existing partners.
You can see the full list of our 2022 helpers here: https://wtec.org.ng/2022-supporters/
Like most social sector organisations, we focus on the next goals to be achieved, but this year, we will stop to celebrate our 15th anniversary.
We will also continue to explore new ways to deliver high-quality programming and as the video and radio content grows, watch out for our podcast.
I thank our sponsors, supporters, partners, board, staff, beneficiaries and their families and all the stakeholders who have contributed to our work this year. Let’s do more this year.