Celebrating the women embracing #DigitALL in their work: Rose Sankananji Namukwai, Programme Analyst – HIV, Health, and Development, UNDP Zambia

March 8, 2023
UNDP Zambia's Programme Analyst for HIV, Health and Development, Rose Sankananji Namukwai on IWD 2023

UNDP Zambia's Programme Analyst for HIV, Health and Development, Rose Sankananji Namukwai, celebrating International Women's Day 2023

Image captured by: Vanessa Wematu Akibate/UNDP Zambia

With a focus on providing technical expertise for policy review, strategy development and programme implementation aimed at promoting access to quality HIV, Sexual and Reproductive Health Information to young, vulnerable populations, Rose Sankananji Namukwai works with women and girls in vulnerable positions to boost their livelihoods.

“As a Gender and development expert, I have come to learn and appreciate that innovation and technology have become very critical components of our everyday work and lives as women, men, girls, and boys. In the recent past, the two have proved to be very good entry points for the social economic empowerment for women and girls enhance as  they enhance timely access to vital  information and services.” – she shares, adding:

“However, despite the many opportunities that come with this, there are still a number of Gender gaps or the Gender Digital Divide, that continues to negatively impact women and girls’ access and use of technology. Therefore, mainstreaming gender issues in technology is key to ensuring the provision of responsive and inclusive services, products and other innovations that promote Gender Equality for all.”

In the last 5 years, UN Women has reported that the gender digital divide has increased by 20 million, with less women being able to safely access digital tools and services. Further, women are significantly more likely to face harassment and violence online.

A remedy to this growing concern is the inclusion women and girls in the creation, use, and regulation of technology and digital tools and services. Through increased women’s representation and participation all along the digital and technological supply and value chains, technology can be used to create safer, more sustainable, and equitable future for all.

In the UNDP, significant efforts are made to mainstream gender within the country offices and in its programmes and projects, to ensure innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. 

Under the Government of Zambia and UN Joint Programme on GBV Phase II, through which UNDP implements project outputs as part of four other UN agencies in Zambia – UNFPA, UNICEF, ILO and IOM, the project team partnered with national intuitions in Zambia to encourage young women and girls to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Further, this Government of Sweden and Ireland funded project has led to the establishment of ICT hubs in rural communities across Zambia, for the training and mentorship of young girls in remote and rural communities.

“Through the girls in ICT intervention, the GRZ- UN joint Programme on GBV II is supporting the establishment of ICT Hubs for rural  women and girls in Chongwe, Chisamba, and Itezhitezhi. This is empowering young girls to develop ICT Skills that will help them to innovate and fit into the fast-changing world and use ICT for economic empowerment.” – shares Rose. 

She further highlights, “I love working for the UN/UNDP because it is a Human Centred organisation/agency that is focused on fostering sustainable development that is responsive, inclusive, and accessible.  Technology and innovation have a catalytic effect in promoting easy access to vital HIV /AIDS information and other services such health, education, social protection, entrepreneurship. etc, all of which are vital aspects of human development and are key in improving the lives of women, girls and other vulnerable populations.  That is why closing the Gender Digital divide for women and girls has become an important aspect of UNDP work.”

Every year, International Women’s Day offers the world a chance to reflect on women’s issues and assess what we can do further efforts towards achieving SDG 5: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Lamenting on this year’s theme #DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality, Rose offers the following message to women and girls:

“Technology has become the new ‘wings’ that will enable women and girls fly out of their limitations, faster and go further. Love it and embrace it because excellence knows no gender”
— Rose Sankananji Namukwai, UNDP Zambia HIV, Health and Development Programme Analsyt