A group of fifteen young women from ACWICT were on the November 25, 2010, privileged to participate in a cultural exchange meeting with their peers from Canada through a telepresence session at the Cisco Systems, Nairobi offices. The session was conducted with participants seated in Cisco offices in three different cities; Ms. Hital Muraj, Academy and CSR manager at Cisco Systems was in London as she joined the interaction between ACWICT students in Nairobi with a group of girls’ from a high school in Toronto, Canada.
The cultural exchange between girls aged 15years to 19 years, saw the girls exchange information and views on topics such as the people, weather, food and popular places to go to in their respective countries. While discussing gender roles, it was pointed out that whereas in Canada household chores are distributed fairly between both genders, in Kenya culture dictates that the ladies do more housework than their male counterparts, hence hindering the social and economic development of girls. Expounding on the same, Ms. Muraj explained to the Canadian girls about the challenges faced by women in Africa because of the cultural practices.
The session was set up using Cisco IP phones and relayed by 3 screens. The Telepresence facility uses a 4G platform making it faster than the normal video-conferencing facilities which use 3G technology. It sets up a virtual meeting which enables people to interact with anyone from anywhere in the world. The images appear in 3 dimensional forms, that is having a length, width and breadth. The facility can be accessed by any of the participating Cisco Networking academies including ACWICT. “To be able to use the facility, an academy needs only to place a booking request in advance”, said Mr. Odemba, the Cisco Networking academy program Manager.
In her closing remarks, Ms. Muraj reiterated her commitment to supporting ACWICT and proposed to liaise with the Cisco Human Resource department and other professionals within Cisco to provide mentorship to the young women.