Liberia: UN Women, Orange Digital Center, Host Women in Technology Summit

Madam Sara E. Buchanan – Executive Director, Orange Foundation & Orange Digital Center and in the middle is Abigail Jallah, Data Scientist-Orange Liberia and Gwatoh Kroma- CEO and Founder, Pepajar Kids

—Discusses on how to create an enabling environment that will support economic and social growth for women in the technology sector

By Claudius T. Greene Jr.

UN Women Liberia, in partnership with Orange Digital Center, held a one-day digital summit for women and girls in the technology sector on Friday.

The summit, which took place at the Orange Digital Center in Congo Town, was held under the theme "DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality."

The aim of the summit was to amicably discuss how women and girls in tech can benefit from existing opportunities in the sector that would help them play a significant role in scaling up young women’s investments in the use of technology.

It was also meant to leverage innovation and technology to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as mobilizing resources to promote investments in promoting digital innovation for gender equality.

Speaking at the summit, Madam Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Liberia Country Representative, described the Orange Digital Center Program as "a team of innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls."

Lamptey also recognized Orange Digital Center as the champion in the advancement of technology and digital education for women and girls.

“We also address a very important growing phenomenon, which is the need to protect women and girls in digital spaces and address online and ICT-related gender-based violence,” she said. “And this is a growing problem in the digital space, so as much as we see the opportunity, we know that we have to take steps to protect women and girls.”

According to Lamptey, “Today, a persistent gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology's full potential.”

She further said that Tech Point West Africa's (TPWA) backup yearly report for 2020 estimates that between 2010 and 2019, only 10% of West African start-ups with a female co-founder raised over a million dollars.

Lamptey added, “So, we do have an urgent need to close the gender digital gap.” So definitely, we need a gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology, and digital education. "We need to increase our awareness of women and girls in this space.”

Lamptey believes that technology can also increase specific engagement of women and girls.

"I’m very pleased that we are making some progress in Liberia. I think the fact that we have so many women here who are calm, who are engaged, and that we have this space encourages us to step in the right direction. And I know that through our collective effort, we will make more progress. "I hope Liberia stands up in this southern region as an example of a country where women, and young women especially, embrace and advance in the needs of digital technology and development," Lamptey explained.

Also speaking, John Dennis, United Nation Peacebuilding Fund representative who gave one of the goodwill messages at the program exclaimed that” They are happy to support women’s empowerment in Liberia and will always and continue to support gender equality and women empowerment in Liberia.

For her part, Sara E Buchanan, Executive Director- Orange Foundation & Orange Digital Center, disclosed that the digital center is a place for free learning, where women and men can go and have free knowledge.

"Orange digital center is a site where, in one space, you will have a startup accelerator. It is a place we help entrepreneurs to gain self-employment," she explained.

She further urged women and men of Liberia to go to the digital center and learn for free.  

“Orange digital center is a place for women and men to come and learn for free," Buchanan said.