The rebirth of the Tonga Women in ICT

18th August, 2021 Tonga Women in ICT Inc. (TWICT) started in May 2018 as CocoNECT, a group of Tongan girls, chatting over coffee and sharing the same passion about Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Today, the group has officially registered as a Non-Government Organisation (NGO), aiming to create a platform for women with interest in ICT, to pursue projects in contribution to the community. On Friday 13 August 2021, TWICT hosted a workshop to mark and celebrate the milestone of officially registered and be encouraged by the messages from the keynote speakers of the day.

The day kicked off with a thought-provoking presentation conducted by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Education and Learning, Dr. Tangikina Moimoi Steen on the topic ‘Real World of Technology’ – Tonga’s educational contexts. Dr Steen urged the group to be aware of the intentional and unintentional consequences of technology, highlighting that we currently do not have a say in how the technology we use are being made. (Something for TWICT to think about).

Director of Information, Tonga, Mr. Andrew To’imoana encouraged the participants that ICT is not only for men but for women too. He continued to highlight the importance of gender equality and urged TWICT never to hesitate in taking up technical roles like engineering in Tonga.

Furthermore, the Director of Tonga’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Tonga), Mr. Siosaia Vaipuna, shared CERT Tonga’s key roles and responsibilities, intending to convince TWICT to join the team. He concluded with a famous quote by Margaret Thatcher, which inspired all the women in the house, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.

The day ended with one of the Tongan women in the ICT field, Ms. Kilimana Mosa’ati Fusitu’a. She is the Managing Director of the Livingstone IT Company in Tonga, and she is also a Software Programmer. Ms. Fusitu’a gave a short testimony on her journey as a woman working in the ICT field and encouraged TWICT that everything is possible. Despite the stigma revolve around women and ICT, she is a living testimony that we women can also be successful in the field if we put our minds into it.

Joining the workshop online via zoom was our main sponsor, represented by Ms. Tina Briggs, the Program Manager for the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) Australia. Alongside were fellow advocates in the field, joining from Fiji, Ms. Georgina Naingulevu and Ms. Suzanne Moli Orudiana from the Solomon Islands.

One of the TWICT members, Mele Manitisa, shared on social media, “It was so great to be in the same room with fellow Tongan women who are currently pursuing careers in ICT. However, the highlight of the day for me was getting inspired, encouraged, and challenged by leaders and influencers in the field. I hope we use all that has been said and shared as fuel to help in fulfilling the responsibilities ahead of us.

The president of the TWICT, Miss Seluvaia Kauvaka reported that 25 women registered for the workshop, 44% are working in Government, and 24% are from private sectors. The workshop also had participants joining from the islands of Vava’u and Ha’apai. The participants range from engineers, software programmers, teachers, cyber security, media to also human resources personnel.

TWICT’s vision is to empower women to enter the ICT industry without fear of discrimination nor persecution, thus giving them equal opportunity to positively impact the industry. The group is committed to foster and encourage the participation of women and girls in the Kingdom of Tonga in the ICT industry and be the voice of women in this male dominant field.

Currently, TWICT has received over 20 registered females, and they are looking forward to receiving more while they continue conducting awareness programs for the corporation. If you wish to join, please contact the TWICT team on tonga.ictfemales@mic.gov.to.

Source: https://www.gov.to/press-release/

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