The Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) foundation exposed 32 young African girls to various STEM & CS knowledge and skills.
WAAW Foundation has successfully completed a high quality, exciting, technically challenging 6-day residential Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) & Computing science (CS) camp for African girls in senior secondary school 1 – 3. The camp was held from July 27th to August 2nd at the Global international College, Lekki-Lagos, Nigeria. Participants were African girls (ages 13 – 17) who showed high aptitude and interest in STEM disciplines, drawn mostly from meagre income families, who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to learn about or be exposed to possible STEM careers.
The girls were introduced to Computer science through multiple demonstration, fun STEM hands-on activities, and Interdisciplinary applications! According to WAAW Founder, Dr. Unoma Ndili Okorafor, the camp is designed to alleviate poverty in Africa by promoting technology innovation and female education as two key components of economic development. She mentioned in an interview with The Daily Independent correspondent that, “the girls are asked on the particular problem they want to use technology to solve in their community. They are the ones that come up with societal issues and apply appropriate technology to work out a mechanism or process as solution. For instance they identified energy problem, climate problem, and waste disposal around the community, corruption and lack of education among others as problems. With these we put a curriculum in place geared towards providing solutions for the girls to work on and address the problem.”
The WAAW Foundation 2014 hands-on camp was technically driven by Stanley Hayford, ELiTE program associate and Frances Van Sloun, a Mechanical Engineering graduate of St. Thomas University in Minnesota who served as the Assistant Director at Wolf Ridge ELC Camp in Finland, Minnesota where she has experience training and working with staff and counselors. With guidance buy modafinil 2013 from these tech. educators, the girls got hands-on experience with the latest technology; learning programming by using the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Blockly (maze and turtle), Scratch tools and techniques to build application. In addition, they learned about solar and wind energy technology and how renewable energy power can help to reduce the effect of everyday burning of fossil fuels that releases excess carbon (IV) oxide into our environment.
Imaginations soar as the young camp participants transformed interests into projects of their own, developed problem-solving and technical skills, gained confidence and a competitive advantage. Using simple and locally available materials, the girls designed and built their own wind powered vehicle that generates electricity to pump water and also constructed a simple generator that could power two LED bulbs. “It was a fun project that had us competing against each other and working to improve our designs.” said Nwokocha Christianah of Gbaja Girls secondary school.
The 2014 STEM camp was not only focused on hands-on activities, the girls had Career Counseling sessions led by Professor Peju Layiwola, renowned bronze caster and lecturer of Arts and Art History at University of Lagos and Mrs Ore Somolu, the Executive Director of Women Technology Empowering Center (WTEC) as an avenue to empower the girls and create passion for STEM related disciplines. They were provided with studying and research tips and tools. Also, they went on excursions to the Nike Art Gallery and the Lekki Conservation centre in Lagos, Nigeria.
The last day was a blast! This fun-filled day was concluded by awesome project presentations, graduation ceremony, prizes and awards, and an amazing feast!
By the end of the 2014 STEM camp program, the girls truly emerged as basic programmers and inventors. We are grateful to all our sponsors, family and friends who have contributed in one way or the other to the success of the Camp.