Grace Ouendo: Bridging the digital divide for vulnerable girls in Benin

Grace Ouendo: Bridging the digital divide for vulnerable girls in Benin
3 min read

Grace Ouendo is a founding member and Communications Manager of ‘Access to Computer for Every Girl (AC-FEG)’, a non-governmental organisation created by a group of young Beninese in 2016. Motivated and committed to the cause of vulnerable girls, Grace and her team use information and communication technologies to help educate girls to become autonomous.

Grace Ouendo

  • Tell us about your NGO ‘Access to Computer For Every Girl’. What inspired this, and what are some of the activities you run?

“It all started with a text message. A male friend had the idea and was like, “let’s do this together”, and I was like, “why not?”. With my knowledge in ICT, it’s the best way for me to give back to society what I know.

Access to Computer For Every Girl (AC-FEG) Team

Access to Computer For Every Girl (AC-FEG) aims to provide girls with better opportunities to excel in life through the use of ICT. Our goal is to train a maximum number of girls in high-school, especially in the villages of Benin, to fight against intellectual ignorance in all its forms, and to help colleges and high schools acquire computer equipment. Our primary mission is to promote access to free ICT training for more girls in school.”

Access to Computer For Every Girl (AC-FEG) training session

  • What is the tech ecosystem like in Benin?

“In general terms, it is evolving. We are in the era where people are becoming conscious of the utility of technology, especially among the youth. Our youth are getting interested in coding, web development and the likes, and I think gradually we are getting there even though it might be slow.”

  • What is it like for women in Benin to gain knowledge and access to careers in IT?

“We still have plenty of room for women to get engaged. The number of women in IT careers is gradually improving. We have super coders who are women. The more women are in those positions in the IT sector, the more it will motivate other women to join. In terms of availability of those careers, there are very few. People need to create more enterprises in this sector for there to be greater accessibility.”

  • In your opinion, how do you think women should battle preconceptions and entrenched ideas about gender in the world of technology?

“It’s all in the mind. The limits we give ourselves are in the mind. Today, with all the speeches on women empowerment, I think it should help women to know that nothing is impossible if only we believe. The most important thing is to try, before saying it didn’t work.”

  • What would you like to see change in Benin in the next decade?

“In the next decade I want to see a country where there is a positive change of mentality towards civic issues. On a larger scale, there should be tech systems put in place to show transparency in our administrative processes.”