WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) recently conducted an ICT assessment of rural women parliamentarians with male as partners as a means to identify the basic needs of information technologies.
The ICT assessment was also intended to interrogate accessibility and usage of internet, computer, smartphone, laptop, online media, tablet, email or other skills of new digital devices for the improvement in quality of life among rural women parliamentarians.
As promised in response to the National Council request, MICT conducted a needs assessment to meet with Rural Women Parliamentarians with Male as Partners to assess the basic information and communication technology empowering tools and skills gap that are available and unavailable, and the application of skills after training for rural empowerment.
The assessment was also meant to identify their needs by means of a questionnaire, according to Roselia Penda, the MICT director of Audio, Visual Media and Regional Offices at the assessment session in the National Council.
“The MICT included the assessment as a target activity for the ministerial 2019/20 annual plan implementation of the overall outcome of the information and communication technology training to be conducted eventually. The honourables are to provide information by completing an attendance register that will be developed into skills profile for the participants, while the completed training needs questionnaire will be analyzed in order to identity and assist in creating a customized participants-needs based course and scheduling of training session, as well as identification of training partners and sponsors,” she said.
On the issue of the reasons behind the assessment, she said the assessment was an endorsement by the report of the Second Session of the Fourth Rural Women Parliament with Male as Partners that was instituted and founded from the recommendation of the report of the Standing Committee on Gender, Youth and Information and Communication Technology.
The assessment was delineated and underscored from the Resolution of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), after the National Council of Namibia attendance of the 62nd United Nations Session of the CSW in New York.
“This assessment will supplement the 2011 resolution of the Status of Women which recommended that governments and parliament to involve grassroots women in social activities with the aim of empowering them to become community leaders,” said Penda.
She said the purpose of the rural women parliament is to create a forum which offers opportunities for grassroots women and men to access information on socio-economic and political developments within the country and to exchange experiences on how to deal with the challenges in their respective communities.
The assessment is vital because the Africa Union (AU) in 2009 declared 2010 to 2020 as Women’s Decade with special focus on ten themes that include working towards achieving the education of women in information communication and technology in Africa.
Penda highlighted that each region in Namibia is represented in parliament by two women and one male with the mission to create a platform where significant issues of national concern affecting women and others who reside in rural areas can be discussed by understanding parliamentary processes and practices for the implementation of AU and UN declarations.
Participants acknowledged the value of the assessment and open-talk discussion on ICT, which will contribute to the promotion and development of grassroots communities.
They highlighted that the assessment, training and open talk sessions will expose, expand and orient the needs, features and importance of usage or access of information and communication technology in a sustainable manner in the country.
They pointed out that government, community, leaders, non-governmental organizations, private and public sectors should continue to support training, awareness, campaigns workshops, seminars, conferences and expos that educate or inform the public about the features and importance of usage of information and communication technology.
The participants also emphasized that the public and private communication sectors have not substantially dealt with the problem of information technology access or usage in terms of transmission networks, coverage devices, software programmes, applications and cyber security such as internet, computer, smartphone, laptop, social media platforms, tablet, email or hacking despite all the efforts to disseminate, inform or educate the communities about the new digital generation that is moving at an astonishingly fast rate.