CISCO and UNIFEM’s joint partnership began in January 2001 with the creation of the ‘Achieving E-Quality in the IT Sector’ programme in North Africa and the Middle East. This programme provides scholarships and training to women in under-served communities. The goal of these projects is to increase the number of women contributing to a country’s economic development
In Jordan, Cisco and Cisco Foundation partnered with UNIFEM and the Government of Jordan, to establish 10 Academies in Jordan. Cisco is also beginning to partner with UNIFEM in other Arab States countries, including Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan.The primary goal of the project is to create training opportunities for women and to ensure that they play an active role in the Internet economy.
Under the UNIFEM project, Local Academies will be established at a variety of organizations including community centers, NGOs, colleges and high schools. In addition to establishing the Academies, this partnership will include other activities such as research on the role of women in IT in Arab States, as well as developing marketing materials intended to improve recruitment and retention of women into the IT sector.
The academy graduates will be linked to the job market through the coordinated efforts of both the private and public sectors, in a recruitment activity formulated under the program. Also, the program aims to create a suitable environment for policy-making that facilitates addressing the gender gap in the male-dominated market.