MUVA Tech: Bridging the digital gender gap in Mozambique
Access, Digital literacy, Disadvantaged socio-economic contexts, Entrepreneurship, Women
Career counselling and professional development, Non-formal education and extracurricular contexts
In an increasingly digital world, women are regularly excluded from access to information and communication technologies (ICT), and the digital gender gaps continues to increase.
Digital illiteracy is a pervasive reality in the low-income urban areas of Mozambique. Only 15% of young women in Beira, one of the country’s largest cities, have regular access to a computer compared to more than a third of men. In Maputo, the capital, access is higher among both genders; however, a 20% gender gap remains among urban youth, according to a survey by MUVA. This proportion is true also for access to social media applications, meaning that communication and advocacy through these channels is less likely to reach women than men.
Developing digital skills in an inclusive way is key to addressing social inequalities. Digital literacy is not only important to access job opportunities, but also to benefit from social protection systems and financial solutions. Trainings must address stereotypical beliefs and fears among women about technology, and demonstrate the benefits of digital skills.
MUVA is a social incubator elaborating innovative approaches to support women’s economic empowerment. The organization’s approach enables young women to gradually learn about and use technology and computers as they create their own products. This helps them gain the confidence and skillset to work in ICT fields, and unleash their entrepreneurial potential.
Recognizing persistent barriers that limit access to decent work, MUVA develops innovative projects with local partners to build the skills that young women need to work, develop the self-confidence and vision they need to find employment, and create work opportunities that match their aspirations and abilities.
MUVA Tech uses technology as a tool for empowerment. The project awakens and stimulates the awareness and interest of young women in the technology industries. It provides training and improves the employability of young women by developing the basic, digital and soft skills required to enter the labour market and access new economic activities.
The project also supports young women from vulnerable backgrounds to access economic opportunities by building their capacity and skills, and brokering for entry-level positions with the labour market.
MUVA Tech consists of a two-month course. The first month is mandatory and dedicated to leveling the playing field of all participants. The second month, which is optional, offers a specialization in social media or an introduction to web design.
MUVA Tech is funded by UKAID and implemented by Oxford Policy Management. The project’s partner is IDEÁRIO.
Since the MUVA Tech project began, over 200 young women have been trained in Mozambique’s larger cities of Maputo, within the neighborhood of Chamanculo and surrounding areas, as well as Beira, within the Munhava and Chipangara neighborhoods.
Employers who hired MUVA Tech participants are impressed with their positive attitude, ability to work in teams and willingness to learn.
The idea of merging soft and hard skills in one training came from employers who urged for personnel with soft skills for employability such as commitment, effective communication, teamwork skills, among others. During implementation, MUVA learned that soft skills activities helped women learn about technology and develop digital skills, complementing one another.
ActionAid. 2012. Young Women: Life choices and livelihoods in poor urban areas. Johannesburg, South Africa: ActionAid.
Dickson, K and Bangpan, M. 2012. Providing access to economic assets for girls and young women in low-and-lower middle income countries. A systematic review of the evidence. London: EPPICentre, University of London.
Milward, K. 2016. What works for female empowerment? Literature review. Maputo, Muvamoz.