Girls from across Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) showcased their own original technological solutions to gender-based violence and climate change at the T&T segment of the Caribbean.Girls.Hack competition last Friday, 24 May 2019. In doing so, the young girls competed for the opportunity to present their tech-based innovative ideas to policy makers during the upcoming subregional preparatory meeting of the XIV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean partnered with the Government of T&T and the non-governmental organisations, SheLeadsIT and Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC) Tech Clubs, for the day-long event, which was held at the Brian Lara Cricket Stadium in San Fernando. Through a number of participatory online training sessions and activities, the initiative aimed at engaging young girls in interactive, fun and problem-solving experiences using technology, whilst empowering them to pursue studies and careers in ICT. It was also an occasion for them to learn about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Regional Gender Agenda and the importance of these frameworks for promoting girls’ access to ICT related fields.
Addressing the opening ceremony through a video message, ECLAC Caribbean Director, Diane Quarless, highlighted that “in Latin America and Caribbean there is a need to give greater attention to the gender disparities that exist, including those related to the digital revolution. Accelerating access to, and participation of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and employment must increasingly become part of the solution that the Caribbean pursues, if our subregion is to achieve sustainable development by 2030.”
During the event, girls from T&T had the opportunity to pitch tech-based solutions to address two pressing issues in the Caribbean, namely gender-based violence and building resilience to climate change. A panel of judges from the local tech and creative industries assessed the innovative approaches presented by each candidate, prior to announcing Saint Augustine Girls High School (SAGHS) as the winner of the event.
Having won the T&T segment of the Caribbean.Girls.Hack 2019 Hackathon, SAGHS will be invited to present their prototype and exchange experiences with policy-makers, including the Directors of the National Machinery for the Advancement of Women, during the Subregional preparatory meeting of the XIV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, along side the winners of the other national segments of the Caribbean.Girls.Hack 2019 Hackathon.
Moreover, the Caribbean.Girls.Hack 2019 Hackathon is ongoing in five countries, with completed segments in Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and now in T&T. The final segment is scheduled in Barbados for June.
The initiative is part of the global celebrations to mark the International Girls in ICT Day created by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In the subregion, since 2017 some 1200 girls have participated in the hackathons, using ICT tools to engage in hands-on activities including: mobile app development, animation, robotics, digital video, digital art, and web design, to generate solutions to social and environmental issues.