Niñas Digitales Peru inspires girls aged 8 to 17 in science and technology careers, addressing the underrepresentation of women in these fields. The program focuses on developing digital and technological skills, offering free Scratch Jr programming virtual workshops to girls nationwide and guiding them in programming digital stories. The goal is to inspire and equip girls for active engagement in crafting compelling narratives, fostering their participation in the digital world.
Niñas Digitales Perú, launched in 2021, represents a pioneering initiative lead by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers through its Laboratory of Government and Digital Transformation. Aligned with the National Digital Transformation Policy, this groundbreaking program specifically targeted girls aged 8 to 14, with a profound goal of narrowing the gender gap prevalent in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Through four successful editions conducted in collaboration with stakeholders from civil society and subnational governments, the program has extended its impact by providing free training in Scratch Jr programming from MIT Media Lab to over 7000 girls nationwide.
The heart of Niñas Digitales Perú lies in its commitment to not only addressing the immediate challenge of insufficient digital and technological skills among young girls but also in fostering a transformative journey towards gender equality in the digital realm. The virtual workshops, a cornerstone of the program, are designed to center around digital storytelling, creating an environment that empowers girls to actively contribute to the digital landscape. This process emphasizes the significance of cultivating cross-cutting skills, including logical event construction, creativity, research skills, responsibility, summarization abilities, among others, essential for navigating the demands of the digital world.
This innovative approach goes beyond conventional skill development; it challenges societal norms and stereotypes that may deter girls from venturing into STEAM careers. By utilizing the Scratch Jr platform developed by MIT Media Lab, the program not only imparts technical skills but also cultivates creativity. The focus on digital storytelling serves as a powerful tool to inspire girls, encouraging them to not only embrace technology but actively shape and contribute to it.
The impact of Niñas Digitales Perú extends beyond the individual level because this program envisions a positive ripple effect within communities as these empowered girls, armed with digital literacy and proficiency, become catalysts for change. Influencing their peers, families, and communities, they create a domino effect of increased interest and participation in STEM disciplines, contributing to the long-term vision of a more inclusive and diversified workforce.
Niñas Digitales Perú is a catalyst for positive change in the societal perception of gender roles in technology contextualized in a diverse country like Peru. By nurturing the talents of young girls and breaking down gender barriers in STEAM education, the program aspires to create a lasting impact on the participants and the broader community. The innovative blend of digital education, gender equality advocacy, and community empowerment positions Niñas Digitales Perú as a model for effective and transformative initiatives in the realm of education, technology and inclusion.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Niñas Digitales Perú is innovative in its fusion of digital education and gender equality. The program's uniqueness lies in virtual workshops using Scratch Jr, to enhace technical skills and foster creativity. It empowers girls to break gender barriers in STEM, creating a holistic learning experience that goes beyond traditional education. Through this innovative approach, the program envisions to go beyond skill development; is seeks to motivate a transformation in how girls perceive and engage with technology, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse future in STEM fields.
What is the current status of your innovation?
Niñas Digitales Perú is currently undergoing active evolution, placing a particular emphasis on two significant initiatives. Firstly, the forthcoming 5th edition will pivot towards digital confidence and security, illustrating the program's adaptability to the ever-changing landscape of digital education, addressing emerging challenges.
Furthermore, the ongoing research, conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion and the Inter-American Development Bank, to formulate a specialized Niñas Digitales program for vulnerable populations, including girls and teenagers residing in poverty, extreme poverty, and facing diverse challenges such as disabilities, as well as belonging to indigenous or afro-peruvian communities. This project reinforces the program's commitment to expanding its impact to marginalized populations, ensuring that digital education is accessible to those encountering diverse circumstances of vulnerability.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The program's development involves strategic collaboration with civil society partners, international cooperation agents, private sector and other government agencies aligned with the objectives of the program. In the ongoing project to design a specialized Niñas Digitales program aimed at vulnerable populations, we have a strategic alliance with the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Primary beneficiaries are girls aged 8 to 17, engaging parents, educators, and community leaders as interested parties. The program envisions a collaborative approach to support girls in their educational journey and break gender stereotypes within the science en technology fields.
The Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion of Peru and the Interamerican Development Bank (IADB) are key stakeholders to the project.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Niñas Digitales Perú has marked substantial progress since its inaugural workshop. Across four editions, the program engaged over 7000 girls nationwide, actively contributing to the promotion of digital literacy and the gradual breakdown of gender barriers. Crucial metrics such as participation rates and skill assessments were assessed, notably through the final projects contest in the last edition. Remarkably, girls created compelling stories of women in Science using the Scratch Jr platform, with outstanding projects earning scholarships to fortify their newly acquired skills.
Moving forward, the program envisions exponential growth, specifically targeting an expansion to reach more girls, especially those in vulnerable populations.
Challenges and Failures
- Maintaining girls' interest in technology over time may be challenging, requiring efforts to keep the program engaging and relevant for a sustained impact.
- The program should always be culturally sensitive and inclusive so it needs to be able to understan and respect diverse cultural backgrounds to enhance the effectiveness of the program.
- Establishing partnerships with local communities, schools, and organizations is vital for the sustainability of the program, as collaboration with stakeholders also facilitates the sharing of resources and expertise.
- Careful assessment is necessary for evaluating the long-term impact of the program on participants' academic and career choices, emphasizing the importance of establishing metrics
Conditions for Success
Success for Niñas Digitales requires a strong foundation: reliable infrastructure and tools, clear strategic policies, effective and colaborative leadership, ample resources, and unwavering commitment that surpases changes in government priorities. Prioritizing Niñas Digitales as a key government initiative and institutionalizing it in the Ministry of Education's policies are crucial for its continuity and long-term impact.
- The program has successfully replicated in four editions, engaging over 7000 girls nationwide, with a fifth edition currently underway.
- The success and impact of Niñas Digitales Perú can be replicated through partnerships and sharing best practices. Scalability relies on strategic collaborations, ensuring its reach to benefit more girls nationwide.
Niñas Digitales Perú has gained invaluable lessons, recognizing the need for a nuanced approach across diverse age groups, tailoring the content to optimize the learning experience for each age bracket—specifically, girls aged 8 to 12 and 13 to 17. Additionally, it emphasizes the pivotal role of the entire educational community, fostering collaboration among students, parents, professors, and the broader community.
Furthermore, the program has embraced the significance of practical application in the learning process, engaging girls in hands-on projects rthat facilitate the application and reinforcement of acquired knowledge.
Lastly, mapping local education and technology actors is essential for achieving this ambitious goal.
Niñas Digitales Perú Program received the ExcelGob award at the VII Ministerial Meeting on Digital Government organized by the Electronic Government Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (Red GEALC), with the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the Gender Approach category. This award recognizes the best solutions implemented by the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean. (link: https://www.redgealc.org/site/assets/files/16406/excelgob2022_ingles.pdf)
- Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
- Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
28 December 2023