Actua, an organization providing STEM education programs to Canadian youth, has received $600,000 from the federal government to help it pilot a new cyber-empowerment initiative for girls and young women.
“This funding which will equip thousands of girls with a critical understanding of online technology.”
The funding, provided through the department of Women and Gender Equality Canada, marks the second federal government investment in Actua in less than a month; in July it was announced that Actua had received $12 million from the government’s CanCode program. Actua also received a $10 million CanCode investment in January 2018.
The $600,000 is specifically funding what will be a three-year pilot program, led by Actua, that is meant to provide girls and young women with digital skills that help prevent online victimization. The program will be focused on delivering STEM programming that creates “positive online connections.”
“Actua is committed to building positive digital citizenship in youth, leading to a new cyber-smart generation ready to embrace the challenges of the digital age,” said Jennifer Flanagan, president and CEO of Actua. “We are incredibly grateful for this funding which will equip thousands of girls with a critical understanding of online technology, in particular the role of AI, and encourage proactive and self-driven online identity formation.”
The programming will integrate AI lessons for the participants, looking to help them think critically about how they interact with AI, as well as get them thinking about how they might contribute to the evolution of AI or leverage it to solve global challenges.
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“Investing in national networks like Actua that empower and inspire youth to address this issue is crucial,” said Maryam Monsef, minister of international development as well as women and gender equality. “We are taking an active role in preventing and addressing cyberviolence because it is real violence, with real harm, and real consequences. We will continue to work with community partners, the private sector, and other levels of government to end gender-based violence in all of its forms.”
Image courtesy Actua via Facebook