Girls urged to go full STEAM ahead!

More than 60 teenage girls from across Namibia took part in this year’s Women in Science (WiSci) Girls - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art-Design, and Mathematics (STEAM) Camp. The overall aim of the initiative is to overcome gender disparities in the enrolment of science related fields of study.

The WiSci Camp has been held in Rwanda (2015), Peru (2016), Malawi (2017) and last year, 100 girls from across the world were hosted at NUST, while a parallel camp was running in Georgia, U.S. Namibia has once again been selected to host the camp. However, this year, the focus is on Grade 10 and 11 girls from various regions in the country. Similar camps are running in Ethiopia, Kosovo, Oregon and Estonia this year.

According to UNESCO, the gender gap for interest in science studies can begin at an early age and it can widen because of a loss of interest or confidence throughout a girl’s school years. Furthermore, women’s enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistic (5%) and engineering, manufacturing and construction (8%).

The activities
During the 10-day camp, which ends tomorrow, the participants have been exposed to various training opportunities related to careers in STEAM, from architecture, recycling waste material, computer programming, cyber security, chemistry, microbiology and water purification to learning how to make biltong and yoghurt. Furthermore, industry professionals from various fields gave the campers career advice in electrical engineering, radiology physics, information technology, medical doctors and actuarial science, amongst others.

A word from the girls
“The whole experience has been amazing and I have been exposed to a wide variety of career choices. Food science really stood out for me and since I have a business subject at school, that I really enjoy, I can find ways to connect the two,” said Rhevonne de Klerk, a learner from the Otjozondjupa region.
“The camp was exactly what I expected it to be. I had done a bit of research about it before I signed-up for it. I have always wanted to be a surgeon but I am now considering civil engineering as well,” said, Nyasha Mukumbira, a learner from Kavango East region.

The partners
The U.S. State Department is the main sponsor of the initiative, in partnership with Girl Up, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation. NUST availed the facilities, staffing and developed a curriculum for the camp. The NamPower Foundation provided smart technology for the campers, whilst staff from the University of Namibia also facilitated some of the training workshops.

Date: 
Friday, June 28, 2019
for Month: 
June, 2019

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