The Meta Digital literacy Forum forum convened stakeholders from the government, private sector, NGOs, and educators to discuss the role of digital literacy in combating issues such as misinformation, hate speech, bullying and harassment, and online safety. The idea was to highlight the responsibility of ensuring responsible and safe use of digital platforms not only by Meta but all stakeholders. The forum, held on 7th December, 2021, provides an opportunity to spotlight Meta’s effort in curbing misinformation, hate speech, bullying and harassment while promoting online safety via digital literacy. At the end of the forum, the key stakeholders identified gaps that exist in the fight to enable digital literacy and made recommendations on what actions different stakeholders can take to enhance digital literacy.
Some of the key matters emerging from the forum were:
– Identifying the gap that exists in the Digital Literacy field in Zambia.
– What some of the most identifiable measures we can take to close this gap are.
– Who are the key stakeholders in these efforts.
Women Game Jam is a game development marathon where participants are challenged to plan and create a digital or analog game, based on a theme that remains secret until the beginning of the event. This kind of event offers the ideal environment to learn, create a portfolio, and strenghten under-represented gamedev communities.
This year, due to the spread of Covid 19, the Women Game Jam will be hosted online. The theme will be announced on the first day of the event and all groups will have 10 days (from the 21st to the 30th August) to create a game inspired by the theme. Zambia’s event will take place from the 21st to the 22nd August 2021 with online workshops hosted from the 16th to the 19th August 2021.
The games can be either digital or analogue, depending on the team’s preference. At the end of the event, each group will upload their game to Women Game Jam’s itch.io page, where every jammer will be able to enjoy the games of the other participants.
We successfully hosted the country’s first ever Women’s Game Jam and we had women physically and virtually join the event.
In September, 2019 Asikana Network launched eZibo Digital Literacy program in Zambia, in partnership with Facebook. The program was aimed at training youths across 6 provinces in Zambia between the ages of 13 -18. The name eZibo means e-knowledge stemming from the Lozi word for knowledge. Over 2000 teenagers were reached spanning across 6 provinces and over 50 schools, as well as community schools
Asikana Network is participating in a Global Challenges Research Funded Project on Gender-Justice & Digital Innovation in Africa. The project led by Dorothea Kleine Professor in the Geography Department and Co-Director of the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID), Chisenga Muyoya Co-founder Asikana Network and PhD Scholar University of Sheffield, in partnership with School of IT University of Cape Town, Malala Fund, Spider Centre and Oxfam Great Britain. Read more about it here… http://siid.group.shef.ac.uk/gender-justice-and-digital-in…/
The start of 2020 saw Asikana Network go back to it’s roots and dive into programming classes once again. Our member and trainer Cynthia Mulenga led this class.
Though small (not all students appearing), the class was fun and educational as usual. This class started in February 2020, has been followed by a second class which ended recently in May. Due to Covid-19, the second class was conducted entirely online via our beta e-learning platform (yay!) and went smoothly.
SPARK by BongoHive is a fun 2-day project-based programme hosted during the school holidays to introduce kids to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and computer programming. By participating in the programme, kids learn fundamental electronics and science concepts, with practical build sessions in which they get to learn how to turn ideas into solutions. They are empowered to express their creativity and harness critical 21st-century skills. SPARK, is an initiative by tech innovation hub Bongohive and covers how to use tech-based tools such as Scratch programming, Microbits and MIT App inventors Asikana network is helping this cause by being involved in the training of the participants. Find out more on the bongohive website :
Taungana was conceptualized as a multi-pronged solution to the great need for development in the science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and mathematics domains on the African continent (and globally). For instance, UNESCO reported that 2.5 million new engineers and technicians are required in sub-Saharan Africa to provide the clean water and sanitation the continent desperately needs.
On the other hand, females remain hugely under-represented in these STEM fields, globally and in Africa. These are all startling figures in a continent where women are largely the primary caregivers, particularly in rural communities. To foster innovation and economic development in African countries, it is important to bring these women to the STEM problem-solving table – yet access to information and exposure to the application of STEM education in career paths remains extremely limited for students who live outside of our continent’s major cities. And so Taungana was born.
Taungana is a Shona name which means “coming together’’. It started in December 2013 with the aim of identifying and developing talented high school girls from underserved rural Africa with knowledge and resources through exposure and access to STEM organisations, careers, role models, education and continued mentorship through practice leaders while equipping them with entrepreneurial skills to implement monetizable community development projects.
Taungana partners with; Tech Women Alumnae of South Africa, Asikana network of Zambia and Tech women of Zimbabwe. The main leading activity of Taungana is the STEM expo(Fellowship program) held every year in August since 2014, where rural girls from the three countries are selected based on merit to represent their countries. During the Expo the Girls connect with STEM professionals, get exposure to leading STEM organisations, STEM career paths, and become STEM promotion ambassadors in their own communities.
This year’s Taungana STEM Expo was held from 19th to 27th August 2017 in Johannesburg South Africa. Twenty-six (26) girls from the three countries took part in the Expo, where Seventeen (17) girls were South Africans, Two (2) were Zimbabweans and Seven (7) were Zambians.
During the Expo, girls (ambassadors) were exposed to different professionals with STEM careers most of which were females. The ambassadors had the opportunity to meet and listen to inspirational speeches by the female Doctors, Engineers, Scientists as well as entrepreneurs that have had an excellent academic performance in STEM subjects. And also visited Companies that offer solutions to problems within their communities, countries as well as Southern Africa as a whole. The whole idea of the visit was to educate the ambassadors on how individuals or groups of people came up with simple ideas that have developed into companies manufacturing and selling tangible products that are sold world over.
Taungana hopes to see more rural high school girls not only from the current three participating countries but with the hope of expanding to the rest of the Southern Region moving towards STEM careers.
Bridging the digital divide and ensuring girls stay in school and are exposed to ICTs will empower them to access information easily and take better care of their health, find opportunities for education, earn a living and advance their personal development.
In light of this, on 20th October, 2017 to 21st October, 2017 Asikana Network participated in the Africa Code Week by hosting 2 events were; Day one of the two day participation brought together over 80 girls aged 15-24 years old to acquire basic ICT skills with support from eSkills4Girls, an initiative aimed at tackling the existing gender digital divide particularly in low income and developing countries with a goal to globally increase the access of women and girls to the digital world.
Working in collaboration with local partners Lubuto Library and Chiparamba Break through Academy, Asikana brought the girls together at the University of Zambia, Department of Computer Science labs in a week that coincided with Africa Code Week workshops in 35 countries across Africa
Interestingly, some of the girls were using a computer for the very first time and were taken through the basics of computer hardware and software. The girls were also introduced to basic programming using Scratch and Sonic Pi by qualified and accredited trainers ranging from Computer Scientists to Computer Technicians and Web developers who are part of a global coding community.
Day two of participation in the Africa Code Week, kicked off in the morning with the first ever all female Hackathon, where over 30 females were brought together to build out ideas to create solutions using Technology.
The Hackathon had ladies from all walks of life developers, designers, tech enthusiasts name them all and worked to together to learn new skills, test and bring new ideas to life as well as met awesome ladies doing amazing things with technology.
The Hackathon under the theme “Social Impact” was concluded by having two winning teams thus Team QRC CrowdFunding a mobile enabled crowd funding platform for local organizations & initiatives and Team AfroFashion who will use tech to develop skills of tailors & designers.
The winning teams of the Hackathon will get 3 weeks FREE INCUBATION from BongoHive Innovation and Technology Hub. Through the incubation, the winning teams will learn how to refine and prototype their idea while getting a set of business fundamentals essential to a new enterprise.
Mandela Day, celebrated on July 18, is an annual international Day adopted by the United Nations. It is more than a celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy, it is a global movement to take his life’s work into a new era and change our world for the better.
This year Asikana Network joined UNAIDS, US embassy and like-minded Zambian leaders to celebrate Mandela Day and speak to over 40 girls and young women different communities under the theme “Women’s economic empowerment for income – generating activities.”
Every speaker discussed on how to take everyday endeavors and passions and turning them into viable careers.
Namaala Liebenthal discussed her transition from being a corporate attorney to a CEO and entrepreneur, and how she was able to build a successful international dance company (ZOCA Dance Limited) from the ground using her legal training and formal dance education.
Natasha and Faith Kaoma from Copper Rose Zambia educated the girls and young women on Menstrual Hygiene management as a component of women empowerment. Mukuka Mayuka represented Asikana Network, she discussed her transition from being a corporate attorney to a self – taught Digital Strategist.
It was a fun filled day with a lot of activities; with having Health Professionals who worked throughout the day providing free HOB tests, Counselling and Family Planning to a Makeup session with joy and the girls and young women ended their day by receiving gift bags of makeup. Mandela Day asks us to all “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”