AS part of its commitment towards supporting initiatives that promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in Nigeria, the United States Consulate General has launched a new project aimed at empowering 300 high school girls in Osun state to pursue education and careers in STEM fields.
Through the project tagged ‘Osun Girls Can Code’, the 300 school girls will receive training on coding, web design, and product creation, all key skills needed in today’s increasingly competitive job market.
Speaking during the inauguration of the project in Osogbo, U.S. Consul-General, Claire Pierangelo said the ‘Osun Girls Can Code’ programme is one of the many initiatives of the U.S. Mission that seeks to ensure gender parity, and provide women and girls with opportunities to contribute to creating sustainable and inclusive economic prosperity for Nigeria.
According to her, the six-month capacity-building programme will foster a supportive community where young girls can receive mentorship, network and share internship opportunities in STEM fields.
Pierangelo further stated that encouraging the role of girls and women in STEM fields has been the cornerstone of the technology-learning programmes supported by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria.
“The United States promotes the rights and empowerment of women and girls in our foreign policy, and we have invested millions of dollars to advance gender equality across sub-Saharan Africa.
“When barriers to the participation of women and girls in STEM fields are removed, we all benefit. Whether at home or abroad, promoting women in the STEM fields is a U.S. government priority,” she said.
In addition to the capacity-building programme for the 300 high school girls, 60 female STEM teachers from Osun State will receive training to help teach more effectively and mentor women and girls about careers in tech fields.
The project NaijaTimes gathered will end with a pitch competition to showcase the participants’ achievements, with U.S. Consulate representatives on the panel and the winning schools rewarded with prizes.
A 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Dayo Adeniyi, is implementing the project with a public diplomacy grant from the U.S. Consulate General.
To create opportunities for women in the field of tech, the U.S. government has introduced a number of programmes. In 2011, the U.S. government introduced the Tech Women programme to empower the next generation of women leaders in the technology field.
This exchange programme brings together women in Northern California with their counterparts in the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria for professional mentorship at leading technology companies in the U.S.
Last month, the U.S. Consulate in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Education had strengthened the capacity of 50 Lagos teachers from the State’s Education District One (LED 1) in STEM teaching methods.
The five-day training tagged ‘Global Air Drone Challenge for Teachers”, saw teachers who were drawn from public schools in underserved communities of Agege, Alimosho and Ifako-Ijaiye introduced to basics of building and flying drones, computer coding, solar panel assembly, as well as various aspects of implementing an integrated approach to teaching STEM in the classroom.