Thursday 22 October, 2020

YCDI kick-starts Women In ICT Mentorship Program with website workshop

YCDI workshop participants pose for a photo at the Digicel Headquarters in downtown Kingston.

YCDI workshop participants pose for a photo at the Digicel Headquarters in downtown Kingston.

Following the launch of their Women In ICT Mentorship Program on April 26, 2018, the Youth Can Do I.T. (YCDI) organisation has officially initiated its first workshop as a part of the yearlong programme.

The mentees gathered at the Digicel Headquarters in downtown Kingston earlier this month for the workshop session, which would prepare the young ladies to create their own websites. Lianne McNaughton, founder of YCDI and lead coordinator of the workshops decided to give the mentees a crash course in the fundamentals of becoming online content creators with focus on creating their own blogs and websites. 

“I don’t want anyone to ever feel or use their age, gender or even where they come from as a disqualifier for not being able to speak up or share their story,” McNaughton expressed.

She further explained that, “That’s why the workshop was created in a way where the mentees went through a process of understanding that and believing that they can make a difference, and that technology is just the enabler or the means in which to do so.”

The very enthusiastic mentees eagerly dived into crafting their own narratives and developing the concept for their websites, which would be one of their main projects for the year.  Jordan Nakash, for instance, a mentee who was also a part of the 2017 winning team for the Girls in ICT Hackathon, shared her story of developing a love for tech having at first felt out of place.

She expressed a desire to create a space online where girls like herself and anyone interested in tech, could find genuine and relatable content that will inspire them to also become creators themselves. This same energy resonated among the other mentees who presented ideas that were not only innovative but also quite thoughtful.

Moved by the responses from the mentee, McNaughton relayed, “I was so impressed by the ideas and passion that came from the girls especially by their desire to connect people, to be the voice for their generation, or just to encourage people to find their own path.”  She also added that, “The girls have really gone above and beyond my expectations and I hope this programme can support them every step of their way as they actively pursue their dreams.”

The next workshop will be hosted on June 30 under the theme, Empowering YOUth: Discovering Your Strengths. Both mentors and mentees will take the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment and then will be guided through a journey of self-discovery in identifying and tapping into their innate strengths.

The Women In ICT Program affords 31 female mentees between the ages of 15-22 the opportunity to be individually paired with a professional woman within the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) industry. The programme was created with the main objective of providing the opportunity for young women in pursuit of tech-related careers to have mentorship and most importantly, a community to support them.

YCDI was formed in 2016 by Lianne McNaughton in an effort to empower Jamaican youth by providing them with not just the skills but confidence that they need to change their lives and communities. The organization recently expanded its operations to Haiti where it launched a virtual mentoring program for a digital literacy project for girls. To learn more about YCDI, follow its progress on social media at @youthcandoit on Instagram, Twitter and @ycdit on Facebook. If you’re interested in being a sponsor, please get in touch.

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