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May 2, 2017

Smashing Stereotypes – Girls in ICT

Regardless of women’s importance and influence in the field, ICT continues to be considered male-oriented. This calls for determined teams, like ours, to put work and energy in inspiring and motivating young girls not to be set-back by such stereotypes, but rather smash them with their hard work and talent!

Once again, Kosovo joined in on marking the international day of Girls in ICT with an inspiring conference organized by IPKO Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic DevelopmentA.U.K Training and Development InstituteUS Embassy, and USAID Empower Private Sector.

The Girls in ICT conference was held on Friday, the 28th of April, on the campus of RIT Kosovo and gathered hundreds of girls interested in the field of ICT, influential actors of the field, inspiring speakers, and companies of the field offering hiring opportunities to the girls.

The conference started with the opening speeches of Vllaznim Xhiha – Board Member of AUK/T.D.I and Abetare Gojani – Program Director of IPKO Foundation. They opened the floor for short-speeches to Kadri Veseli, Blerand Stavileci, Colleen Hyland, Besa Zogaj-Gashi, and Visar Jasiqi.

After the short but inspiring speeches, we were happy to present our speakers: Sheba Najmi, and Darsej Rizaj.

Sheba came all the way from San Francisco to share her insights and experiences on working on meaningful things that truly impact people’s lives with us. She is a lifelong learner, with positive social impact as her guiding compass in life. During her speech she managed to inspire all of us to use technology to create a better future! Our second speaker, Darsej Rizaj, on the other hand, comes from our corner of the world, and he works right here in Kosovo. He is one of the founder of Shkolla Digjitale whose main purpose is to educate the Kosovo youth on computer sciences and programming.

After the inspiring talks, we had a small reception allowing the girls the opportunity to network with the speakers and the guests, and opened the workshops. These workshops were held by Sheba Najmi on User Experience Design, BONEVET on Technology and Fashion, Girls Coding Kosova on Mobile App Development, Prishtina Hackerspace on Intro to Linux Command Line, Shkolla Digjitale on Programming for Everyone, and Agon Nimani on Drone Technology. These workshops allowed the girls to learn more about the hands-on experience rather than listen to talks.

We topped the day with a job-fair where we hosted tens of local companies and businesses to meet with the young girls and discus hiring or internship opportunities. A lot of these companies had open positions and found their mates on the 28th!

Till next year, the next conference, and the next opportunities!

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