Supporting Female Graduate’s Access into Information Technology (IT) Sectors through Internship Programs

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Introduction

ASK executed the project, titled “Supporting female Graduates Access into Information Technology Sector through Internship Program” under Gender Equity Program of Aurat Foundation supported by USAID. Intend of the project was linking up fresh IT graduates to the market through internship/jobs opportunities available in IT sector. It equipped IT graduates with employable IT skills along with the knowledge on women friendly environment and sexual harassment at work places, gender sensitization and laws on women protection. On the other, hand it also focused employers in both public and private entities to orient them on women friendly environment, sexual harassment at work places, gender sensitization, laws on women protection and to introduce women friendly initiatives in their HR policies. It envisioned that the placement of IT internees on internship for six months duration with both the public and privates sector entities & helped in finding the job opportunities in their respective areas.

Under this sub-grant, ASK has designed and implemented activities under project “Supporting female’s graduates access to Information Technology (IT) sectors through internship programs” in district Lahore. It included baseline of potential companies where internees have been placed, mapping and selection of women beneficiaries (fresh graduates) from IT departments of universities and recommendations on skills. The grantee has developed pre-test training modules on IT employable skills identified in the baseline. Based on these IT modules specialized and extensive trainings on IT skills have conducted for the trainee graduates these trainings have also followed by workshops on women’s rights, labor laws, Sexual Harassment Act and promotion of women friendly spaces for both graduates and potential employers. The value addition, through these inputs was expected to capacitate 120 IT graduates to provide relevant entry points in to the job market through placing on internship for the duration of six months both in public and private sector entities available in the district

Achievements against Deliverables (Training Activities)

Deliverables Activities Achievements
Grant Opening Meeting Agenda and session plan developmentPresentation developmentInvitation to relevant stakeholdersLogistics arrangementOrganization of grant opening meetingPress Release Speakers and participants appreciated the event and were very pleased with this project. They appreciate the efforts to provide access of fresh IT graduates into Information Technology Sector through internship program.
Base Line Survey Development of survey toolSamplingLogisticsConducting surveyIdentification of women internees to be trainedPreparation of survey report According to data, it has been evident that both employers and proposed IT graduates believes following employable IT Skills are most important to be trained on to get a job in IT Sector;

  1. Concepts of IT & Its customization for market needs
  2. MS office Skills
  3. Web & Software Skills
Development of Training Manuals Coordination with ECI for manual developmentTravel for meetings with ECIProvide substantial support to ECI in developing Training Manual Participated in the consultative workshops by ECI and input has been provided on the basis of survey findings.
Development & Pre Testing of  Training Modules A pre testing exercise on the basis of baseline survey to develop training module for the IT employable skillsRefining &  Selection of content for training module of IT skills  in coordination with ECI Done
Specialized Trainings for Trainee IT Graduates Development of agenda and session planDevelopment of presentations with the help of pre testing exerciseLogistics5 specialized trainings for 120 IT graduates (each training for 3 weeks)Development of report 5 batches has been done successfully with all achieving’s
Training Workshops on Women Rights, Labor Laws, & Sexual Harassment Act & Promotion of Women Friendly Spaces for 120 Students. Development of agenda and session planIdentification of participantsDevelopment of presentationsLogistics5 specialized trainings for 120 IT graduates (each training for 3 days)Development of report 5 workshops has been done for 5 batches each and delivered completely.
Workshops to orientate Employers on Women Friendly Work places, labor Laws, & Sexual Harassment Act Agenda developmentIdentification of participantsDevelopment of session Plan and preparation of presentationsLogistic arrangement for workshopsOrganization of training 7 workshopsDeveloping workshops reports 7 workshops have been successfully completed with different organizational C.E.O’s, Head of departments and HR Managers. It is to be discussed that all the organizations agrees change their departmental policies according to labor laws.
Placement of trainees 100% of trainees are placed now in different organizations/ Software Houses
Development of Database Database designing and developmentUpdating throughout the project for keeping the record of 120 IT internees and their employment status Database updated on quarter basis and completed successfully till 5th quarter.
Stipend for IT Internees Payment of Rs. 6000 (per person per month) stipend to 120 IT internees for 6 months Stipend will be issued at the end of every month after starting their internships to till 6th month to each female.
Marketing and Branding Generating ideas of brochures, leaflets and generating email linkages.Development of stakeholders for this particular activityEngagement of employers through multiple initiatives for the placement of the interneesApproval and printingDissemination of brochures and leaflets Marketing & Branding of all activities has been completed according to need.

Grant Opening Meeting

Objective of the event:

Ask Development has organized the Grant Opening Event .The objective of this event was to bring on board all the relevant stakeholders to spread the message and explore avenues of IT internee’s placements/jobs in their respective sectors.

Organizer’s Name:

ASK Development

Place of the Event:

Seminar Hall, Institute of Business and Information Technology, University of the Punjab, Quaid-e-Azam Campus, Lahore

No. Of Participants:

  • of Male Participants: 11
  • of Female Participants: 138

Background of participants:

Participants includes Graduates of Institute of Business and Information Technology, GEP Partners, Managers from Corporate sectors, Faculty members of Public Universities, members from Aurat Foundation, Media and team of ASK Development.

Proceedings:

Registration: Registration of participants has been done by ASK Team, brochure of program/project has been provided to each participant to create awareness.

Welcome Note: On behalf of ASK Development Mr. AsmatUllah (Project Director) warmly welcomes the participants.

Documentary on Women Struggle: A documentary on women struggle with the title “Main Safar Main Hoon” has been shown, in this documentary women’s struggle has been demonstrated in a great manner. It was well appreciated and liked by the participants.

Orientation on GEP: Orientation on Gender Equity program has been provided by Ms. Sumera Saleem (Senior Program Officer Aurat Foundation). Through this orientation participant has been informed about the background, Aim, Vision, Objectives, Strategy and achievements of Gender equity programs.

Orientation on Project:  Mr. AsmatUllah (Project Director ASK Development) provided the orientation of the project. Through this orientation participant has been informed about the Objectives/Goals, Duration, Targets, Process, Monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Experience Sharing: Ms. Beenish Ayesha (Assit. Prof. Information Technology (IT) University of Engineering and Technology Lahore) shared her valuable experience. She told in past women were not in a position to break the glass ceiling, but she with her tremendous efforts were being able to break the shackles and became the successful person. She encourages fresh IT graduates to break the chains of fear and step up for their own good and their family.

Employer Perspective on IT Employment: Mr. Khalid Khan from South Asian Business Concern shared his views on employer perspective on women access to information technology sector. He asked the fresh IT graduated to equip themselves with all the tools to become successful. He appreciated the efforts of all stakeholders to start such kind of programs for women empowerment and women friendly workplaces though this project.

Remarks by GEP Representative: On Behalf of Aurat Foundation Ms. Hasna Cheema (Deputy Program Director) shared her views about the program and appreciated the efforts to empower women in Information Technology Sector.

Remarks by Director IBIT: Prof. Dr. Aamir Sarwar (Director Institute of Business and Information Technology) shared his views. He said in recent years women are getting empowered, with the efforts of various stakeholders they know their rights and they are getting enrolled in Information Technology programs in great numbers. He appreciates this program and efforts to bring women in power.

Remarks by Chief Guest: Prof. Dr. Mrs. Mumtaz Akhtar (Dean Faculty of Education and Director Institute of Education and Research, University of the Punjab) chaired this event. During her address she encourages fresh female IT graduates to take part in economic empowerment. She also shared her thoughts on Gender Equity program and was very pleased with the efforts so far. She appreciated this program and extendedher support to ensure that IT graduate’s women can enter the information technology age.

Specialized Trainings for Trainee IT Graduates

Objectives:

The project aimed to ensure that women in Pakistan can enter the information age. Although they have had little contact yet with the new technologies, it is clear that there are many opportunities to improve the lives of women and their families.

It equipped IT graduates with employable IT skills along with the knowledge on women friendly environment, sexual harassment at work places, gender sensitization and laws on women protection.

On-the-job training and placement of 120 female graduates through their placement in IT and corporate companies for a period of 06 months. Awareness of women’s rights, labor laws and encourage gender equality values among 120 participants. Facilitate female graduates to become a resource person and effective advocates and defenders of women’s rights and gender mainstreaming.

Targets:

  • Training of 120 IT graduates and their internship
  • Trainings on:

IT graduate employability skills (5 trainings; duration 15 days each; 5 hours daily)

Subjects & Topics:

  • Graphic designing, Web development with tooling of word press, Android Development, Networking& Troubleshooting, Soft Skills.

Training Workshops on Women Rights, Labor Laws, & Sexual Harassment Act & Promotion of Women Friendly Spaces for 120 Students

Targets:

  • Training of 120 IT graduates and their internship
  • Trainings on:
  1. Women rights, labor laws, sexual and harassment act, promotion of women friendly spaces (5 trainings; duration 3 days each; 5 hours

Subjects & Topics:

  • Workshop on sexual harassment, women friendly workplaces, women rights and labor laws.

Training detail of all 5 batches

Date Batch # Venue Number of participants  Universities
07-Nov to 26-Nov-15 Batch No 1 Superior university 30 Superior university/UET/GC
10-Nov to 30-Nov-15 Batch No 2 Superior university 30 Superior university
10-Nov to 30-Nov-15 Batch No 3 CIMS 30 CIMS
10-Nov to 30-Nov-15 Batch No 4 CIMS 30 CIMS/P.U
01-Mar to 22-Mar-15 Batch No 5 Global Institute of Management Science 35 P.U/Global Institute

Monitoring & quality assurance:

  • Baseline
  • Monthly, quarterly, end project reporting
  • Coordination/liaison with employer, intern, grantee and implementer
  • On-the-internship backstopping
  • 90% attendance for internship based experience certificate
  • Maintaining database 

Challenges:

  • Long procedures by Software houses for the selection of Internees
  • Dual challenges from interns as well as from software houses were faced like high expectations of IT companies from IT graduates as they demand all internees should be highly qualified and experienced
  • Drop out of internees from Software houses
  • Quality of IT education provided by universities
  • Lack of communication skills/ confidence of internees
  • High expectations of interns about job timings and allowance as well
  • Skills of the internees less compatible with software houses

7 Workshops to orientate Employers on Women Friendly Work places, labor Laws, & Sexual Harassment Act

Objective of the events:

Convinced the employers to amend their HR policies in accordance with Gender Equity and Women Laws.

Background of participants:

All participants were from different organizations, software houses, banking sector and different education institutions.

Proceedings:

All participants has shared their views how they deal such case & how they make policies on woman friendly environment & harassment. ASK Development Representative gave the presentation on sexual harassment, Woman Rights & Labor Law. The impact of the session was very fruitful. All the stakeholders agree to reconcile their policies regarding women’s friendly spaces in workplaces. There is a need to enhance awareness among women workers about legislation and strategies to deal with sexual harassment.. They said the government should provide legal and social protection to informal workers and establish a complaint center to deal with the complaints of sexual harassment.

Report

Anti-Fraud Hotline

The objective of the Project is to ensure Transparency and prevention of corruption. In the utilization of grant to be provided to Pakistan by USAID, including the US $ 7.5 billion of Kerry Lugar Bill. Citizens and civil society organizations are welcome to report corruption and register their complaints direct through Anti-Fraud Hotline website. www.anti-fraudhotline.com

USAID/Pakistan has, in cooperation with the USAID Office of Inspector General, established the Anti-Fraud hotline to provide avenue for the reporting of fraud, waste, and abuse which may be associated with USAID funded projects in Pakistan. Complaints are handled with complete confidentiality and individuals are encouraged to report when corruption, fraud, waste or abuse may exist in the USAID/Pakistan projects. Reports can be filed anonymously via the easy –to-use Hotline (toll free number 0800-84700); e-mail at complaints@anti-fraudhotline.com ; fax at 021-35390410; postal address at 5-C, 2nd Floor Khayaban-e-Ittehad, Phase VII, DHA, Karachi, Pakistan; and on the website www.anti-fraudhotline.com

Picture Gallery

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Disclaimer

This webpage  is made possible by the support of the Aurat Foundation under Gender Equity Program and the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of the ASK Development  and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, Aurat Foundation or United States Government.