Germany upgrades Computer Lab of Women’s Department Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 18 October 2012 00:00

Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow and Minister Martinez take a first look at the new computersThe computer lab of the Women’s Department Office on Albert Street was extensively damaged by Hurricane Richard in 2010. The downpour from Richard caused the computer lab to be flooded and water flowed into the power sockets, which damaged the electrical infrastructure of the building. Furthermore, the water caused one of the walls to deteriorate beyond the possibility of repair.

On Wednesday, October 17th, the department celebrated the recommitment of a promising partnership with the Government of Germany. In 2009, the Embassy of Germany sponsored the department’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Program, which focused on promoting economic opportunities for women through skills training in sewing and business development. Now, the embassy has thrown its support behind the renovation of the computer lab that provides computer literacy courses for women and men throughout the year. In addition to the members of the public, the computer center also provides training for Government employees. Employees from the Ministry of Health were trained at the center as they were being prepared for the National Health Information System. Employees of the Ministry of Social Development were trained at the center as they were preparing the strategy for the Conditional Cash Transfer Program. Icilda Humes, Director of the Women’s Department, has been working at the Department for seven years. She has seen cases where the computer literacy training directly resulted in economic development when individuals received jobs immediately after finishing the course. She said, “This center provides invaluable services not just to women but men and youths as well.”

The Government of Germany provided $34,332.01, which covers the procurement of 10 new desktop computers, a modem with an internal cooling system and two 4KVA Uninterrupted Power Suppliers; the elevation of the flooring to prevent water damaged from future storms, upgrade of the electrical and networking systems and replacement of the deteriorated wall. Markus Gratz, the Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, was present at the inauguration of the upgraded computer lab. He underscored his country’s support for the empowerment of women in allied countries.
Humes said that the Department is now able to train up to 20 individuals per course. The program is continuous throughout the year and there are far more people interested in taking the course than there are computers available. Therefore, the donation of any additional computers would benefit multiple families immediately.