Top NGOs Focusing on STEM Skills Development in Africa

Science is all around us. It plays a major role in the growth and stability of the world’s economies, making it a priority for each country to develop and nurture young talent in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) fields. As the need for critical thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors rises, Africa is making notable strides to breed talented individuals who will transform the continent’s economies.

Here are some of the NGOs doing the invaluable work of developing STEM skills on the continent:

STEM Skills Development

WAAW Foundation

When girls are educated, societies are transformed and economies grow. That’s the mantra that drives Working to Advance African Women (WAAW), a non-governmental organisation devoted to empowering women and girls with science and technology skills. Founded in 2007, the Lagos-headquartered company inspires African women to be innovators.

Through workshops and mentoring sessions, the organisation focuses on computer science with the aim of using technology to solve energy and clean water problems in Africa. One of WAAW’s recent initiatives was a training programme which saw female secondary school students being taught how to generate electricity through renewable energy sources. At the end of the programme, the trainees were able to build a wind turbine that generates electricity.

WAAW also awards annual scholarships to women looking to study a science-related course at a university, college or institute of higher learning on the continent.

Her2Voice

Describing itself as “an inspirational group that aims to revolutionise the way STEM is considered in the Rwandan society.” Her2Voice provides young girls with skills and training in an effort to open their eyes to the abundance of opportunities that exist in the STEM fields. The NGO also mentors students to help them think differently and shape their careers.

Her2Voice is part of the global technology and entrepreneurship programme, Technovation Challenge, which challenges girls from around the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-life problems with technology. Through this competition, Her2Voice takes teams of young women through a 3-month course that sees them work together to design and develop mobile apps.

Her2Voice was founded in 2013 by six Rwandan women who share the same vision of fighting for gender equality and inspiring girls to take up careers in male-dominated fields.

@iLabAfrica

Located at Kenya’s Strathmore University, @iLabAfrica is a research and incubation facility that promotes technological innovation and supports entrepreneurship programmes in apps and software development. Launched in 2014, the facility operates under the Faculty of Information Technology and is dedicated to nurturing young talent with the aim of growing ICT in East Africa. The research facility has done several successful projects in a range of fields such as health, e-learning, and in government.

Extending its reach beyond university corridors, @iLabAfrica hosts holiday boot camps for primary and high school learners to help them bring their creative ideas to life. The boot camps give students an opportunity to learn a variety of skills, including designing videogames, creating animated stories, creating mobile applications, designing a website, as well as coding.

Visiola Foundation

The Visiola Foundation mentors young girls and women in the STEM fields to create a generation of leaders who will help transform African economies. One of the organisation’s popular programmes is the Summer Camp, designed to equip students with valuable skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and to view the world through a scientific lens.

The Nigerian organisation “has developed an effective 360-degree Developmental Learning Model that deepens the understanding of students, builds their confidence, and is especially efficacious in attracting girls and young women to the technical fields,” says Lade Araba, co-founder of the NGO.

Every year, the Visiola Foundation offers scholarships to disadvantaged girls to study a degree in science, engineering or mathematics.

GirlHype

South Africa is one of the countries that have made significant strides in getting women into science, technology, engineering, and maths in Africa. GirlHype is among the non-profit organisations that are at the forefront of this transformation.

Formed 13 years ago by Baratang Miya, an outstanding woman who taught herself how to code, the organisation has made an extraordinary impact on uplifting women. “Girlhype has reached more than ten thousand girls and introduced them to opportunities in computing and engineering. Our girls have been employed in the tech sector straight from high school,” Baratang shares.

The organisation prepares its students through a series of programmes that cover everything from coding to entrepreneurship. “We just launched a full time three-month full stack coding boot camp for post-matric (qualification received on graduating from high school in South Africa) students who will be placed at different companies for an internship,” Baratang explains. She adds: “We also offer after school tech and entrepreneurship clubs in schools where girls learn how to code and run a tech start up using a Silicon Valley based Technovation curriculum. By the end of the course, the girls will have learnt HTML, CSS and JavaScript, as well as coded an app and created a startup.”

Africa ICT Right

Africa ICT was established in 2007 with the aim of addressing the shortage of ICT skills in Ghana. The non-profit organisation does this by empowering the youth with the skills and resources to pursue opportunities in information and technology fields.

The organisation, which is run by volunteers, offers three programmes that not only educate students but benefit different members of society as well. The Education Programme “works to improve access and quality of education through equipping schools with computer labs and training of STEM teachers on how to integrate ICT into teaching and learning,” while the Health Programme focuses on using technology to better the health of underprivileged Ghanaians, especially women and children.

Africa ICT also runs the Gender Programme, centred around educating high school girls about STEM subjects. Since its inception, the organisation has worked with almost 100 schools, trained more than 10, 000 students and over 200 teachers.

JJiguene Tech Hub

The lack of women holding IT jobs in Africa motivated Coudy Binta De, 27, along with a team of two other women, to establish JJiguene Tech Hub, Senegal’s first technology hub run by and for women. Jjiguene means “woman” in Wolof, the most widely spoken language in the country.

The tech hub runs training courses for women as well as primary and secondary learners around the country. The training focuses on computer coding with emphasis on HTML and CSS. There is also a mentorship and business development training programme for girls aged between 13 and 25, where they can get hands-on experience and advice from senior members of Jjiguene.

2017-09-06T15:51:02+00:00