Having hosted a coding camp for 20 girls from the Leribe district, Vodacom Lesotho has emphasised the value of its Code like a Girl initiative and announced its ambition to be the best employer for women by 2025.
According to the operator, Code like a Girl looks to bridge the massive gender imbalance that persists in STEM-related fields.
Launched in 2017, the Vodacom Code Like A Girl project is aimed at girls aged between 14 and 18 and hopes to encourage girls to develop an interest in ICT careers through learning how to code.
"It is an extensive global training programme for girls to help them engage with the technology industry and encourage them to consider technology as a career path in the future. The programme runs throughout the 27 countries that Vodafone operates across, and as part of the programme each country is mandated to host a four-day coding course for girls," the company explained.
Vodacom says its investment in digital skills training programmes for young women is aimed at helping to develop their computational and critical thinking skills and showing them how to create, not simply use, new technologies.
Vodacom Lesotho Foundation hosted its inaugural Code like a Girl camp for 20 girls in October 2017.
Facilitated by four female Vodacom Lesotho employees from the IT and technology department; the training focused on introductory website development using Bootstrap, CSS and HTML and basic design techniques.
To date, Vodacom has trained over 380 girls in programming and looks to train 1500 girls by March 2020.
The company references the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, which states that increasing the number of women in STEM isn't only about harnessing the best talent to tackle the challenges facing humanity. STEM is often a foundation for well-paid careers that boost the economic security of women, and in turn give them a greater social and political voice.
Executive Head of Foundation Molemo Motseki said: "Empowering women and helping young people increase their skill-set through technology are two important areas of focus for Vodacom as part of the Company's ten year sustainable goals. By 2025, Vodafone's ambition is to be the best employer for women. Over and above that, this initiative is a continuation of the Foundation's mandate to advance gender parity and promote diversity and inclusion."