Results of the project “Skills4Girls”: Inclusive IT-education

On December 2, 2022, the program “Skills4Girls” implemented, by IT Park and the United Nations Childrenʼs Fund (UNICEF), was completed.  As part of the program, 214 girls, including 70 girls with disabilities, improved their digital skills.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed annually on December 3 and was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly.  This yearʼs theme is “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation in Creating an Accessible and Equitable World”. The commemoration of this day aims to promote awareness of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of people with disabilities. The annual commemoration aims to draw attention to the barriers that people with disabilities often face in order to create an inclusive environment for access to health care, education, employment and to overcome stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities.

Also, this week will mark 16 days of activism against gender-based violence (November 25 – December 10) and is important for dialogue and awareness of barriers, as well as the goal of ending violence against women and girls and increasing girlsʼ leadership skills for further access to education and employment.

For many years, Uzbekistan has been actively developing social services to help people with disabilities, implementing a number of measures and projects aimed at supporting them.  Since the 21st century has marked the age of information technology development, the government has begun to pay special attention to the involvement of persons with disabilities in the ICT industry.

One of the successful projects implemented by IT Park and UNICEF was the program “Skills4Girls”. “Skills4Girls” is IT training program for girls, including girls with various disabilities, from 12 to 18 years old, which was launched in June 2022.  The program aims to increase the participation of girls, including girls with disabilities, in the field of information technology on the basis of the principle of inclusiveness, thereby expanding their opportunities for education, employment, leadership and self-confidence.

Kamola Sobirova, Advisor to the Minister of ICT, Makhliyo Muxinova, Deputy Director of IT Park, Jamila Khalibaeva, Creative Director of IT Park, Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan, Oybek Pulatov, Deputy Chairman of the Association of the Disabled of Uzbekistan, as well as participants from all regions took part in the event.

During the six months of the existence of the Skills4Girls project, from June to November 2022, 214 participants.

The main selection criteria for girls was age (from 12 to 18 years old) and the desire to improve digital skills. The girls were divided into groups in priority based on age, and with a significant difference in the level of training, respectively, taking into account this criterion. In each of the regions, 48 ​​girls without disabilities were involved in training. Girls without disabilities in grades 6-7 learned the features of Microsoft Office, Entry and Web technologies (HTML and CSS); girls without disabilities grades 8-9 and 10-11 – graphic design.

The main selection criterion for girls with disabilities was also the desire to improve digital skills.  Girls with disabilities and low digital skills completed a full digital literacy program, and girls with basic knowledge learned briefly the features of Microsoft Office and studied Entry in detail, as well as Web technologies (HTML and CSS).

At the end of the course, the participants were given short text assignments.  The winners of the highest scores were awarded certificates for training in IT Centers at IT Park at the place of residence:

  • 1st place – certificate of training for 2 500 000 soums (19 certificates)
  • 2nd place – certificate of training for 2 000 000 soums (19 certificates)
  • 3rd place – certificate of training for 1 500 000 soums (19 certificates).

Thus, graduates of the program get another opportunity to receive additional education.