Some of the Springer Memorial School students who will be taking part in the upcoming Caribbean.Girls.Hack – 2019 Barbados Summer Hackathon, planting a fruit tree at their school today. Assisting the students are Principal, Mitchelle Maxwell and Head of the International Telecommunications Union, Cleveland Thomas. (A.Skeete/BGIS)

Springer Memorial School students, participants in the Caribbean.Girls.Hack – 2019 Barbados Summer Hackathon,  planted trees at the Government Hill institution, this morning, to reduce their carbon footprint on the environment for the hackathon and beyond.

The event, which takes place next month, has a greening initiative as one of its themes. 

The trees were donated by the National Conservation Commission, and the planting exercise was done in collaboration with officials from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology, who coordinated the event.

The Springer Memorial team, along with other secondary schools, have been attending workshops and developing their projects for the hackathon. 

Head of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Cleveland Thomas, explained the rationale behind the hackathon and the tree planting.  The ITU is also one of the organizers behind Caribbean.Girls.Hack – 2019 Barbados Summer Hackathon.

“Every single year, the last Thursday in April, we celebrate the Girls in ICT day. The intention is to bring a lot of awareness of the importance of ICT, and given the gap that we have experienced mainly with young girls and women, it is one of those days to generate that interest.

“One of our partners is a group called SheLeadsIT.  This is our third year with that group, in which they have a programme focusing on two principal areas – Future Safe Girls; how can you use technology to protect girls based on gender violence and so forth?

“The second part is where we reach out to the ministry and also the regulatory authority of the government and ask them if they are interested in partnering with us and the school as far as bringing awareness for the carbon emission and the issue of the environment.… It involves, again through the same agencies, planting trees as a starting point.  And, in the planting of those trees, the next stage is to have certain ICT equipment that will be attached to those trees so that we can monitor what is happening over time to see how they are progressing,” the ITU head stated.

He lauded Principal of the Springer Memorial School, Mitchelle Maxwell, for allowing her students to take part in the hackathon, since many schools had not taken up the opportunity.

Principal Maxwell pointed out that the Springer Memorial School already subscribed to the objectives of the hackathon – empowering girls at the school; expanding their knowledge base and helping them to be good stewards of the environment.

 “We also see this opportunity for the planting of the tree as symbolic because when you plant, you give life to things and we see this as an interesting symbolic synergy that the tree in itself represents growth.  We can only invest in our young people and help them to grow so that they are able to respond in a way that adds value to Barbados as a whole,” she emphasized.

Over 10 secondary schools are expected to participate in the Hackathon, come August.

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