Malawi: Macra Says ICT Catalyst of Gender Equality


Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has said Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is a catalyst to acceleration of gender equality enshrined in the United Nations charter.

Macra Board Chairperson, Martha Kwataine made the observation on Friday during the commemoration of Girls in ICT Day.

"ICT can be used as a catalyst that can help accelerate progress towards achieving this target. Gender equality is a basic human right enshrined in the UN charter and it is one of the main objectives of the UN millennium development goals," Kwataine said.

Kwataine said Macra would continue to provide a conducive environment for both public and private sector participation, deployment and utilization of ICT in both urban and rural communities in a bid to achieve meaningful socio - economic growth.

She disclosed that government has through the authority provided telecentres that are operating in rural areas in an attempt to increase access to ICT equipment and internet services to communities to promote and broaden availability of such services.

Kwataine encouraged girls to utilize telecentres spread across the country to expand their potential in ICT as a career. She also challenged the girls that the world has provided a rare opportunity to girls by creating an ICT era whereby technologies can be had through handheld devices like smart phones.

In his remarks, Macra Director General Charles Nsaliwa said the authority would continue to strive to empower girls with an aim of exposing them to various ICTs. "Our expectation is that the interventions will inspire the girls through the White Spaces project so that girls can take ICT as a lifetime career."

Nsaliwa said nearly all professions were dependent on ICT given that the world was turning global as such computers could not be avoided with the global village concept being promoted at the same time.

Chikhambi, however, said there was need for more efforts to inspire girls in ICT like sponsoring computers clubs, saying: "Government should make ICT curriculum more appealing for girls to easily embrace it."

She also said there was need to change people's cultural perceptions which pits girls as a lesser social gender/sex by providing them with teddy bears as opposed to their boy counterparts who are given computer games thereby giving an edge over the former.