Computers for Girls (C4G) Background
Throughout the world, education remains a key component for creating a better future. Nowhere are the hurdles more apparent than in the developing world – especially in rural areas - where there are few adequate schools, often overcrowded, with limited resources. Gender gaps in education are real: Girls face greater hurdles than boys in getting an education and are more likely to leave school long before boys.
There are also a variety of cultural reasons why fewer girls receive STEM education. Women and girls may not have access to education, computers and the internet. Home and family obligations, lack of transportation, low-literacy and cultural norms discourage - if not deny - access. Focusing on organizations and schools that specifically support girls education is one way to overcome these barriers.
We know that educated girls become educated women who have the skills, knowledge and opportunities to improve their lives and their communities. Yet this can only happen if the digital divide is bridged first.
By partnering with organizations and schools that support girls' education, WCE helps improve the chances for girls to get a 21st century education -- essential for alleviating poverty, and breaking down the social and political barriers that exclude them from fully participating in the future of their country. You can see here our C4G org chart and our Dissemination Plan for the Tools when they are co-developed and field tested with our teachers.
Country Selection Criteria: 4 pilot countries:
- Commitment of the iEARN Country Coordinator (see letters): Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Zambia
- WCE Strategic Allies operating in this country
- At least 35 organizations in this country have expressed interest in WCE
- Safe and healthy for our eCorps volunteers to visit
- WCE has a Field Associate developing a WCE Chapter in the country: Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Zambia
- WCE has shipped computers to this country before
- Government allows importation of refurbished used computers
- Government is committed to dissemination: Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Zambia
- This country has a Peace Corps office with which WCE has worked
- Relationship with a university in the country
- Availability of funding for this country
- Relationship with a gender resrouce in the country: Mali
Co-Developer Teacher Selection Criteria: 2 per pilot country
- Their schools have computers and internet connections
- Has prior experience participating in iEARN multi-country, student-learning projects
- Has a strong interest in increasing girl access to computers and STEM education
- Is committed to helping to co-develop the WCE C4G Tools
- Head of school provides letter of commitment to WCE
Equipping schools with computers and training teachers in how to use the Internet to improve learning via experiential, interactive, multi-country projects delivers real and sustainable results. Working in unison with schools, libraries, and Partner organizations ensures that girls have access to the opportunities, skills and understanding of the internet .
The potential of giving access to computers and internet technologies to engage and motivate – especially when tied to education - is limitless: Children can learn new skills, teachers can design new and previously unimaginable curricula and the broader community has a resource for their socioeconomic development.
Until our 8 C4G Tools are developed and field tested, WCE will continue to provide at cost the following services to any interested group. As Tools related to STEM and girl empowerment content, capacity builiding and training are developed, we will add them to our WCE services and orient our volunteer Development Officers to be able to provide them to our Partner organizations.
- Leadership and organization building for WCE girl-focused Partner organizations so that they will be stronger organizations and advocates for girls' education
- Refurbished computers and networking gear ready for use in internet labs in schools
- Preloaded small digital library of curated primary and secondary education content which needs no internet connection - we now include C4G content
- Students, particularly girls, connected to the opportunities, skills and understanding of the Internet
- Technology teachers trained in a two-day iEARN workshop in how to use the internet to improve learning via experiential, interactive, multi-country projects
- Volunteer eCorps tech professionals who spend 2 weeks visiting the participating schools in a country providing training and technology troubleshooting support - we can include a volunteer with C4G skills
A Sustainable Approach
Community commitment is fundamental to WCE’s philosophy. Our capacity-building model combines trust, due diligence, cooperation and co-investment to ensure long-term sustainability. Our Partners (see Glossary) initiate the request, then develop implementation plans which address everything from cooperating with other local groups, to raising funds, as well as maintaining the computers, Internet access, security and more.
WCE gratefully acknowledges Regina Ryan for her founding vision of Computers for Girls. WCE began implementing the C4G initiative in 2012 and we have gradually involved interested schools in Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Tanania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with computers, content, capacity building and training. We plan to expand C4G into Pakistan and Puerto Rico during the next year.
The initial phase of C4G gets the schools ready with the hardware and focusing on increasing girl access - but we have found that they need a kit of C4G tools. WCE is seeking funds for our second phase for a C4G Initiative to work in 4 African countries initially in two schools each to co-develop, field test and then help us disseminate 8 TOOLS to help any teacher, parent or school that wants to increase girl access to computers and the internet. Our goal is to have these tools help 1 million girls within 5 years of our receipt of foundation funding. After that during our phase 3, C4G with the new tools will continue to be one of WCE's Services and we will update and maintain the 8 tools going forward sustained by C4G Members and Sponsors and revenues from WCE Partners.
To donate to WCE Computers for Girls please go to our donate icon at the top right and use the drop-downs next to "Program Designation" and select Computers for Girls.