Rural kids in Serere during the Africa Code Week, Supported by Google

Are we slowly forgetting the boy child?

Over time, inclusion has become the talk globally, it has played an important role in promoting innovation and development today. It’s impossible for excluded groups to support your course, it’s as simple as asking yourself, why should they?

The World Bank Social Inclusion report stated that, “There is a moral imperative to address social exclusion. Left unaddressed, exclusion of disadvantaged groups can also be costly. And the costs—whether social, political, or economic—are likely to be substantial.”

When the girl child had no voice, this of course included the women in society, many things didn’t go well, in fact, most cultures had reduced a woman to a working donkey. But we know the consequences.

Thank God, a girl child is getting all the empowerment they need to become independent and responsible in the future. This sounds good, I totally support this. However, here is the problem. We are doing it in isolation, I can’t imagine that today many initiatives are adopting the model of empowering the girl child and leaving out the boy child, can’t we empower them together? Where is empathy in the civic world? We are training our children to do things in isolation but once they grow up, we want them to work together.

We might assume that boys are okay, what we may not assume is that, maybe society is lying to them that they can do it on their own. Yes, this is what I was told while growing up, “Josh’ you are a man, you can survive but girls need help.” Interestingly, the lie worked, I became a hustler who has transformed the lives of many around me.

But it pains me when I meet my peers who failed, what if they were not told the lie and taught how to seek for help. I wish someone was able to teach us that being vulnerable was okay. We are all humans, no need to pretend when we can’t meet expectations of society.

If you are running a girls tech program, it will not harm you to admit that curious young man in your project. Remember you might be in a location where there is no other tech project apart from yours, meaning you are the light in that boys life. Just look at it as a parent, do you only care about your daughter with the assumption that your son is okay? Let’s not make our children miss opportunities because they were not there when divisions occurred.

I hope and wish that every project dealing with only girls will consider boys as a bonus to what they are doing. Unless you are dealing with gender-related activities like sanitary towels, you may be leaving out dreams that could come to life. I think it’s high time we became inclusive in our projects, the cost of raising a generation of unempowered boys may not be one we might want to pay.

Joshua Eyaru, Atlas Corps Fellow – Uganda,
Center for Technology & Workforce Solutions