World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is marked across the world on 17 May, in recognition of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention on that date in 1865. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an organ of the United Nations that works on issues of information and communication technologies was born from that first convention, and organizes the annual event worldwide.
The theme for the 2012 event was announced as Women and Girls in ICT. The ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré released a Call to Action in line with that theme which included the following recommendations:
- Promote national policies encouraging girls, teenagers and women to study and take up careers in ICT.
- Support ongoing work aimed at building capacity that will enable women and girls to independently and competently use ICTs.
- Develop and implement national policies to restructure current education systems and infrastructure with the objective of integrating science and ICT-related subjects with mainstream curricula to better respond to present industry needs and standards as well as future ICT workforce requirements.
- Develop broadband connectivity and inclusion for all, in particular women and girls, through broadband backhaul, wireless or wireline, and including satellite communications.
- Connect all institutions, in particular schools, and encourage them to foster gender equality.
In addition to projects and programmes targeting women and girls as noted above, organizations across Africa hosted special events during the entire week. Computer Aid International’s Africa Regional Office was invited to take part by giving presentations at functions in Kenya and Tanzania.