Empowering girls in Madagascar: from “weak furniture” to tomorrow’s leaders

Publication date: Aug 05, 2019
“Fanaka malemy,” “weak furniture,” this is how girls and young women are still considered sometimes in Madagascar. Very few are educated, but they are often obliged to find a husband and get married. Through the IT Cup Centre, TSF is empowering them by providing a safe environment where they can learn different digital skills essential for their present and future. Irinah, IT Cup Centre Coordinator in Miarinarivo, Madagascar since 2015 explains the importance of TSF’s project for the local community, and for girls in particular.
Girls participating in the activities offered by the IT Cup centre

Many young women in Madagascar are obliged to do household chores and learn how to take care of their family to be ready to be a mother. Only those who have enough financial resources to pay for very expensive courses can afford to learn digital skills. The IT Cup Centre is very important because it helps them not only in their personal development, but it also improves their digital skills.” Creative manual activities, digital cartography, robotics, programming, traditional fairy-tales; these are some of the free activities open to the local community. Through these, girls and young women can learn relevant skills while in an engaging way and in a welcoming environment. In addition, data shows that, if given the opportunity, girls can be even more active than boys: “For example, more than 55% of them attend very regularly our extracurricular activities.

Irinah, IT Cup Centre Coordinator, during the creative activities workshop Irinah, IT Cup Centre Coordinator, runs the "Creative Activities" workshop

One of the main objectives of the IT Cup Centre is the right to information for the whole community: “For those who don’t have the means to afford technologies and related courses, the Centre is the only possibility to learn digital skills.” But even for those who have already been exposed to the digital world and have some experience with new technologies, the IT Cup Centre plays an important role in ensuring they can harness the full potential of such tools in a safe and responsible way. “The IT Cup Centre plays a two-fold role: it introduces to the digital world those who don’t have the means to access it and it promotes an effective and safe use of digital tools for those who have already some experience in using them.”   
To each context and specific need, a tailored solution; this is TSF’s approach. Similarly to what TSF is doing in Turkey, at the IT Cup Centre all participants can learn new skills in the most appropriate way for them, and for girls, this is particularly important: “The IT Cup Centre is always focused on ensuring that participants can progress at their own pace and level. Girls and young women, who usually receive little support from their families, can use this opportunity to get more information for their personal development. The IT Cup Centre is a significant advantage for the population in general, and in particular for girls and young women from our region.”

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