Sri Lanka’s Nextgen Girls In Technology Wins UNESCO World Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

UNESCO world prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education was awarded to Sri Lanka for the Nextgen Girls In Technology project implemented by Shilpa Sayura Foundation. Nextgen won this prestigious global award for making a difference for girls’ education through developing emerging technology skills among school and university girls.

UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honours outstanding and innovative contributions made by organizations in the world to advance girls’ and women’s education. This is the first time Sri Lanka has won a UNESCO Prize for an education Project.

The Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board and it directly contributes to the attainment of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda, particularly SDG 4 on education and 5 on gender equality.

Nextgen Girls In Technology

Sri Lanka, becoming a hub for technology and innovation, offering a range of careers. But, girls pursuing these careers remain low. Out of 52.08% schoolgirls, less than 8% study ICT as a major subject. There is a skills mismatch In the tech industry, stemming from students studying outdated ICT curriculums girls entering government universities are most vulnerable. As a result gender disparity is growing in the Technology Sector.

NextGen Girls in Technology increases women participation in emerging technology careers by introducing a techno-extracurricular program in schools to improve analytical, logical and creative thinking and Training university girls on-demand skills like  IoT, Machine Learning, Cybersecurity and Design to bridge the skills mismatch and increase their employment opportunities. The nextGen project reached all corners of Sri Lanka from north to south offline and online in the past two years. Training 2,482 School Students, 566 Teachers and 418 University students

Nextgen gave some girls their first technology experience changing their career expectations. University Girls learned in-demand industry skills which were not taught in their universities and got better internships and jobs.

Responding to COVID 19 global pandemic NextGen started online training in April 2020 and trained  1318 students, 528 teachers, 122 university students with 1,968  beneficiaries in total. Our Impact multiplied with other organizations, telecenters using our content, tools and model to start coding training. The project was also recognized by International Telecommunication Union as a Champion of WSIS Prizes 2020.

Nextgen Girls in Technology program is supported by Dialog Idearmart, Internet Society, APNIC Foundation, ISIF Asia, Google Education, Adobe and Computer Society of Sri Lanka

Shilpa Sayura Foundation

Shilpa Sayura Foundation was founded in 2005 with the partnership assistance of ICTA e Sri Lanka national project for Digital Development and Innovation. Shilpa Sayura enabled rural youth digital access to national education, media creation for social change and internet technology and skills development.

Shilpa Sayura immensely helped rural education development through Nenasala telecentres and schools Islandwide during the last 14 years. Currently, Shilpa Sayura provides ICT and STEM education from grade 6 to 13 through and Creative skills, advanced ICT skills training for teachers, University and School students supported by Google Education, Internet Society, Adobe Inc, APNIC foundation and Dialog Idearmart.

Shilpa Sayura has won a number of international awards for education innovation and impact including i4D award in 2007, Stockholm challenge 2008, Microsoft youth solutions 2011, ITU WSIS 2020 championship 2020, Adobe Aspire award 2013, World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) 2013, DISKOBOLOS international award 2008 and Global Knowledge Partnerships (GKP) Award 2007