Nokia investing in an equal future for our youth
It’s been a whirlwind of young, energetic creativity since the beginning of this year. Our corporate community investment programs aimed at young people have launched with a wave of youthful passion and fascination. Watching young women and men develop their skills and grow in their belief that they can make a difference in the world is simply breathtaking. I want to take this opportunity to share just a snapshot of these inspiring activities.
Girls, girls, girls…
Launched in the cities of Espoo, Tampere and Oulu in the summer of 2017, Nokia began working with greenlight for girls (g4g) to inspire the future generation of young women in STEM fields. Then came Paris, Krakow, Abuja, and Canberra. In Paris, for example, Greenlight for girls (g4g) in collaboration with StrongHer, Nokia’s grassroots gender diversity program, welcomed 200 girls from 5 different schools.
The g4g days aim to engage participants aged 11 – 15 from local schools, ideally with at least 20% coming from less advantaged communities, offering them hands-on Science & Technology workshops and activities run by role-model professionals. Nokia and g4g have reached more than 900 girls this year. We can still look forward to further g4g events in New Jersey/New York, Bangalore, Brussels, and Shanghai. And plans are underway for further events around the world in 2018.
Girls really don’t just wanna have fun…
Moving on to the African continent, CodeBus Africa’s 100-day tour empowering youth through creative coding workshops came to an end in South Africa. Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township served as the project’s final stop with local start-up accelerator mLab, Finnish Aalto University, Nokia, Mehackit and the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria welcoming youth and guests to a joint celebration.
Organised this year for the first time as part of Finland’s centenary celebrations, the CodeBus 100-day tour started in Ghana in February, stopping in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique before wrapping up in South Africa. Hailed as an empowering celebration of community and technology, the project reached some 1,800 young people with one-day coding workshops, in which they programmed songs using the free open-source software Sonic Pi. The creative and playful approach was particularly targeted at girls, who made up the majority of the workshop participants in every country.
We also saw further coding fun in our support for Rails Girls Summer of Code, where we sponsored the award-winning scholarship program which has aimed to foster diversity in open source since 2013. Selected teams receive a three-month scholarship to work on specific open-source projects.
It’s rewarding to see the variety of programs rolled out targeted at empowering young women, such as Girls Take Over. Nokia joined the Girls Take Over international campaign, initiated by the children’s rights organization Plan International, where girls take over the positions of over 600 leaders in 60 countries, in a clear show of their power and potential on International Day of the Girl. Kudos to Tommi Uitto, (Finland country manager and SVP Global Mobile Network Sales) who gave over his job for the day to 15-year old Aino Vehkavaara from a local Helsinki high school. Aino successfully conducted the annual Nokia Espoo site safety tour, and took part in a 5G innovation workshop. Check out this video:
— Nokia Global Careers (@NokiaCareers) October 11, 2017
Its important to get more women in technology and we are therefore strongly involved in Women in Tech, an initiative of the Technology Industries of Finland that promotes technology careers for women. We covered 5G opportunities and Nokia’s culture transformation during a joint event inAugust and and followed up withthe recent Women in Tech Forum event in Helsinki, where both Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia Chairman, and Jenni Lukander, Nokia global head of litigation and competition law, took to the stage. I’m happy to see that we continue to do our share in creating a larger role for women in business and technology.
But let’s hear it for the boys, too
Both boys and girls are the focus of many of our community investment programs, as Nokia believes that diversity is the platform for greater innovation. Over the summer, it was a joy to see a DREAMS youth festival at Nokia Campus, bringing together around 1000 youngsters from all over Finland, as well as their teachers, Nokia partner NGOs and collaboration companies for a day of Dreams - to innovate, share, dream, code, work, and to have fun.
Continuing on that theme was the HundrED launch event, which we hosted here on campus. The world of education is full of great innovations, which rarely manage to spread from classroom to classroom, let alone around the world. HundrED’s mission is to help schools change by seeking and sharing inspiring innovations in K12 education. The launch saw an impressive line-up of speakers, innovations, and an inspiring look at the future of education.
To paraphrase the words of Maya Angelou “…in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” I look forward to that.
Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #STEM #diversity #hundrED