STEM EDUCATION FOR THE GIRL CHILD – A NECESSITY
The Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation in collaboration with Girl Powered, a female-oriented initiative of VEX Robotics, and the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, a US-registered NGO, held a free two-day Girl STEM Workshop on 10th and 17th October at the Bountiful STEEM Educational Center near the Paloma Hotel. The event, with the underlining theme Girl Powered, was held to commemorate the International Day of the Girl and had about 65 participants physically present and close to 10 participants join-in via zoom.
Photo of participants with instructors
A group of the girls during the event
To be Girl Powered means supporting your teammates, classmates, friends and family to try new things and reach outside their comfort zone. Being Girl Powered means finding people who you would not usually see in robotics, getting them to try it, and making them feel like they belong. It is about encouraging others, both girls and boys alike, to actively embrace a more diverse culture.
I am Girl Powered!
This is necessitated by studies that have shown that girls and boys show equal interest in science and math in elementary school, but girls lose this interest in Junior High school for a variety of reasons. Yet women represent 30% of the STEM workforce. The mission with Girl Powered is to work to change this reality and to re-define the face of STEM by including diversity and all humans to the table.
Girls & boys building robots
STEM plays a pivotal role in a nation’s ability to ameliorate the living conditions of its people and has substantially accounted for the developmental gap between Ghana and other countries. A recent article by Crunchbasea revealed that at 46.4 percent, Ghana has the highest rate of women-owned businesses in the world. This makes exposing every Ghanaian, females especially, to STEM education, almost mandatory if we want to maintain the success we have chalked internationally. As such, Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation has decided to be a part of the torchbearers for this goal to take form in the coming decade.
Rightly so, this event will not go unnoticed in the annals of national history with the impact it has made in the lives of thirty girls from Achievers Ghana, Nima, and girls, as well as some boys, from schools all over the Greater Accra Region, between the ages of 7 – 20 years. Participants were exposed to the dynamics of 3D Printing and kits from VEX Robotics, amidst interesting STEM versions of fun activities like Hangman, Snowflake and Marshmallow challenges, that tested their creative thinking and problem- solving skills. Female participants took the Girl Powered pledge – a self-written promise to be the greatest version of themselves, to take all challenges in their stride and more importantly to be advocates of STEM wherever they go.
Girls being exposed to the dynamics of 3D Printing
Participants learning all about robots.
The workshop incorporated a Self-Confidence talk facilitated by Emmanuella Baaba Koomson of Yielding Accomplished African Women (YAAW) and enabled the girls to be an audience to the inspiring experiences of Vera F. A. Agbenyegah of Vera Creative Minds Network (VCMN) and Maud A. Ashong Elliot, an invaluable member of the stalwart IT faculty of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA).
Further interactions with the Robotics Event Partner to Ghana of the REC Foundation and co-founder of the Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation, Selina Appiah, revealed that preparations to take this event to all the girls’ schools in the Senior High Schools of the 16 regions in Ghana are underway. She called upon all individuals and organizations willing to sponsor a technological revolution in Ghana to reach out to the foundation to help make this a reality.
The onus to empower women and every youth with STEM education does rest solely on the shoulders of parents and teachers implementing a STEM-infused GES educational syllabus or any other syllabus for that matter. It is on every citizen who is passionate and has a burgeoning hope about Ghana and Africa at large.
Ghana’s budding human resource
An article by Alanna Petroff in 2017 on CNN Businessb, mentions that “A new survey commissioned by Microsoftc found that young girls in Europe become interested in so-called STEM subjects around the age of 11 and then quickly lose interest when they’re 15”. This makes it more important for developing countries like Ghana to improve her arsenal in the fight to retain the interest of its female populace in STEM beyond surface affirmative action. Parents and teachers are encouraged to motivate their wards and students respectively, to take advantage of workshops and other STEM opportunities, to equip the budding national human resource with problem-solving skills.
aabout.crunchbase.com – n written by Bridget Boakye on 29th July,2019
Details of Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation:
Phone: +233 (0) 55 819 8161
WhatsApp: +1 385 424 3751
Written by: Daniella Ewurabena Afful
Edited by: Brenda McSaawa