The Intel® ‘She Will Connect’ program was launched in September 2013 with the aim of reducing the internet gender gap and reaching 5 million women in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa over five years.
The milestone of reaching 5 million women across Africa was celebrated at a gala event at the iconic Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia on 24 October 2018. SchoolNet SA was recognized as one of the lead partners of the initiative, with Suraj Shah, the Intel Africa Program Director, thanking SchoolNet SA for “your contribution, passion and efforts to empower women in Africa”.
The ‘She Will Connect’ program aimed to help women change their lives. It worked on the premise that when women are connected to the Internet, lives change – economic and educational opportunities are discovered, self-confidence rises, and connections are made. At the gala celebrations, a number of participants in the program shared their stories of how access to the internet, and some training in how to use digital tools, had changed their lives.
Puleng Moyaha started as a ‘She Will Connect’ participant and now manages the Siyafunda Centre in Palmridge. Puleng said she cannot live without the internet, and that being connected helped her to gain skills to use at her Palmridge Centre with her students. Nontokozo Xaba reported that she uses social media for advocacy. Sarah Mahlaba said that she now realizes that schools must teach learners about digital skills and digital technologies to ensure that learners are better prepared for the world. Anolia Lusunzi remarked that we must ensure our children know about opportunities to reach their dreams.
The role of partners including SchoolNet SA, CareerBox, Siyafunda and the University of Limpopo was acknowledged by Shah – who noted that the accomplishment of reaching 5 million African Women could not have been achieved alone. SchoolNet’s Omashani Naidoo and representatives from other partner organisations reflected on their experiences and highlights of being involved in the project as part of a panel discussion. Whilst the ‘She Will Connect’ project has reached a successful conclusion, all partners were encouraged to continue with their efforts to empower African women.