500 young African women join third CyberGirls fellowship
500 young female cyber security enthusiasts from 22 African countries have been admitted into the third cohort of CyberGirls fellowship programme.
Hosted by the CyberSafe Foundation, the CyberGirls program is one of Africa's largest female-focused free cybersecurity training and mentorship programmes aimed at young women aged between 18-28 years.
CyberSafe Foundation says the 2023 edition marks another milestone in the Foundation's efforts to close gender diversity and inclusion gap, which currently stands at only 9% female participation in the cybersecurity workforce.
This year's cohort was selected from over 20 000 applications received from across Africa, highlighting the growing interest in cybersecurity among African women, says the organisation.
CyberGirls Fellowship is a free one-year fellowship programme that equips girls and women with globally sought-after cybersecurity skills, positioning them to start a career in cybersecurity and helping them to seize work opportunities within Africa, and across the world.
"We are thrilled to launch our third cohort of the CyberGirls fellowship programme, which is designed to attract and empower young women across Africa to take on cybersecurity as a profession," said Confidence Staveley, executive director of CyberSafe Foundation.
"Our fellowship programme continues to play a critical role in promoting gender diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry. We believe that training more women in cybersecurity is not only closing the gender gap in the industry, but also contributing to Africa's digital transformation."
To celebrate the launch of the third cohort, CyberSafe Foundation recently hosted an orientation ceremony in the Microsoft Auditorium at the University of Strathmore in Nairobi, Kenya.
During the event, the new fellows had the opportunity to physically and virtually network with their peers and learn more about the programme.
"The CyberGirls Fellowship has produced nothing but excellence in the cyber world. This has been possible thanks to the unwavering commitment of our community mentors and the guidance of highly skilled trainers," said Dr. Bright Gameli, board member of CyberSafe Foundation.
The unveiling of this year’s programme coincides with the growing global demand for talent within the cyber security sector.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Cyber Security Outlook 2023, hiring and retaining proficient cyber security talent will be one of the top challenges for businesses this year.
The WEF warns the lack of skilled cyber security experts is a threat to business and societies, with key sectors − such as energy and utilities − reporting a 25% gap in critical skills.
This talent crunch, WEF cautions, is a key challenge for managing cyber resilience, and more needs to be done to increase the flow of cyber security talent into the workforce.
The shortage is a growing concern globally, according to ISC2, a non-profit organisation specialising in training and certifications for cyber security professionals, which says there is a worldwide gap of 3.4 million cyber security workers.