Men are twice as likely as women to own a mobile phone in Pakistan, according to a 2016 report by the ITU.* Barriers such as gender discrimination, lack of confidence, language difficulties, low literacy and lack of money prevent girls and young women from taking full advantage of technology in the country.
Girls still lag behind boys in terms of access to information and communication technology (ICT), particularly within marginalised communities. This is why as part of the Safe Internet and School Outreach Programme, Plan International Pakistan has set up ICT labs in 44 schools across Muzaffargarh, Vehari, Thatta and Nowshera with its partner Telenor Pakistan.
Providing training for teachers
“Knowing that the internet provides us with instant access to a global repository of information, it is shocking that a lot of schools still don’t have trained staff or proper equipment for girls”, says Mehboob Elahi, Project Coordinator of the Safe Internet and School Outreach Programme.
“Computing was being taught as an optional subject at our school. Similarly, there was no designated IT teacher,” says Salma, a secondary school student from Thatta. “Now, our teachers have been trained in computing, digital learning and online safety.”
Skills and safety training for girls
Whole communities reap the benefit when girls and young women are informed, connected and educated.
As part of the programme, thousands of girls have learned to use word processing software to write letters and job applications, as well as setting up their first email addresses and social media profiles.
“We were introduced to social forums like Facebook and Twitter, which we shall use for knowledge sharing and social networking,” says Umara, a 14-year-old secondary school student from Thatta.
The students have also been through internet safety training to help them identify and avoid online harassment and abuse.
Increasing opportunities for young women
The Safe Internet and School Outreach Programme has trained over 200 teachers and reached over 8,300 girls from marginalised communities.
Women with ICT skills derive profound benefits, including an increase in economic and educational opportunities, a wider community of support and improved career prospects. This, in turn, improves the economic potential of the wider society.
Whole communities reap the benefits when girls and young women are informed, connected and educated.
Read more about our work helping girls unlock their digital potential.
* Plan International is not responsible for the content of external sites.