We are so proud and excited to receive the 2016 GEM-Tech award.
Three extraordinary organizations were announced on the 15th of November 2016 as winners of the 2016 GEM-TECH Awards at a ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand for their efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls through information and communication technology (ICT), and a commitment to bridging the gender digital divide.
The winners were selected by a committee of experts from ITU and UN Women for their performance in three categories. WAAW foundation won the “Promoting Women in the Technology Sector” category for its work providing training, mentorship and scholarships aimed at increasing the pipeline of women entering STEM fields as leaders and technology innovators and its commitment to bridging the gender digital divide.
Founded in 2007, WAAW foundation has impacted over 20,000 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. The foundation activities include the Girls’ summer camp program, Secondary education Teacher training program, Scholarship awards for college girls, College-to-secondary school Outreach and mentoring program and the Afterschool STEM clubs.
Dr. Unoma Okorafor, the founder and president of WAAW foundation was present at the ceremony to receive the award. During her speech, she said, “I truly believe in the immense importance of our work and the work that everybody is doing promoting Gender equality in technology sector. Gender equality isn’t just the right thing to do; it is not equality of women versus men…Gender equality is the right thing to do economically. It’s the right thing to do for the bottom line. Women are innovators; they bring solutions, they bring connections…they bring beauty to technology.” Dr. Unoma Ndili Okorafor is a firm believer in female education along with technology innovation to end poverty in Africa.
Jointly organized by ITU, the UN agency for ICTs, and UN Women, the GEM-TECH Awards recognize the unique power of information communication technologies (ICTs) to empower women and girls worldwide and achieve gender equality, which is #5 among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals world leaders agreed to in 2015. The awards were presented by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao and UN Women Deputy Regional Director, Asia and the Pacific, Anna-Karin Jatfors, UN Women.
“Women and girls have a major role to play in shaping the world, and access to ICTs will empower them tremendously,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “I’m proud of the 2016 GEM-TECH Awards winners and all the finalists too. They show the world how to bridge the gender gap in leadership, application, and access in ICTs in very palpable ways.”
Added UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, speaking via video from UN Women’s headquarters: “These efforts will ensure that women and girls can get the full benefit of the many learning, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in the knowledge economy and technology sector. You are creating a legacy of skill and investment. I encourage you to continue mentoring women and men, girls and boys within your institutions so these rich dividends can be shared.”
Congratulations to WAAW foundation and other 2016 GEM-TECH Award recipients.