STEMi Makers Africa hosts Project Kuongoza Web Conference to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, 2020.
There are 1.1 billion girls alive today who could grow up to change the world if they are simply given access to things like secondary education, proper nutrition, career opportunities and family planning services. It is no doubt that young women and girls contribute majorly to the socio-economic development and prosperity of a Nation. In Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA Nations, girls face multiple challenges that compromise their education opportunities. One area of longstanding concern is the low rate of female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation (STEMi) education and consequently STEM careers.
To commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child for 2020 themed: “My voice, Our equal future”, STEMi Makers Africa — a non-profit organization that addresses the under-representation of young women and girls in STEM — hosted a Project Kuongoza Web Conference called, “Born to Lead: Empowering Young Women And Girls to Succeed in STEM on Saturday, the 17th of October. This was a virtual conference to recognize the challenges that girls in Africa and MENA Nations face especially in education, their limitless capacity as change-makers and encourage them to Lead and Succeed in their STEM Career and academics by defiling all cultural stereotypes and existing challenges.
The event had Speakers like Bianca Cefalo, a Rocket Scientist who has spent nearly a decade between Germany and the UK, driving space thermal technologies developments and contributing to the delivery of multiple commercial science missions sponsored by NASA, ESA, DLR, UKSA and EU — including the HP3 instrument embarked on the NASA/JPL InSight Mars Mission; Stephanie Okeyo (Kenya), the Founder of Under the Microscope, a Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) Ambassador for Women in Science, East Africa and the representative to the United Nations Office, Geneva; Mervin Azeta (Nigeria/Congo), a Product & Service Delivery Manager with Schlumberger, Mehiret Walga (Ethiopia), the Country Curator for STEMi Makers Africa, Ethiopia, Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology and Co- Founder of Abugida Robotics Technology center and 66 participants that were in attendance on Saturday.
Amanda Obidike shared that the Project Kuongoza conference was to inspire girls from all the Speakers shared stories, the break-out interactive sessions and the Q & A session as an experiential endeavor to connect with participants. “We believe every girl should Be Free to dream. Be free to Lead and Be free to Succeed. This is a wake-up that there is room to do more in raising young women who can serve as role-models and mentors. We are planning ahead not to leave the younger generation feeling displaced and inheriting a more fragmented and disconnected world than we live in today”.
We are so thankful to our Speakers who did so well to further share resource tools and opportunities that girls can explore as they strive to succeed in STEM related pathways.