Bringing STEM to life: WAAW Foundation inspires young girls to reach for the stars
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
One of the major problems in Africa is poverty. The poverty rate is alarmingly high (according to Statista, the current poverty level is 46%), and if we can think of a weapon we can raise against poverty, it’s education. Education has the power to transform lives. For many disadvantaged children, especially girls, giving the gift of education is one way to climb out of poverty.
Our mission at the WAAW Foundation is to give the gift of education by empowering girls to succeed and achieve their dreams. By employing various tools like volunteering, mentoring, teaching, and training students, we’re able to empower young people to succeed in the face of challenges.
Through our College to Secondary School Outreaches, WAAW connects university students with local schools to make STEM education accessible. This not only gives younger students exposure to critical 21st-century skills but also allows volunteers to hone their leadership abilities for the betterment of their communities.
About the WAAW Foundation
The WAAW Foundation is on a mission to inspire young girls to study hard in school and achieve success. By empowering African girls with resources and tools to work hard in their STEM subjects and pursue careers in these fields. Their vision is a future where women and girls have and can leverage opportunities in STEM and achieve their highest potential.
Founded in 2007, WAAW aims to empower girls through scholarship, mentorship, and building a community of female leaders, innovators, and role models. Knowing that increasing women’s participation in STEM leads to greater creativity, economic growth, and solutions to global challenges, we partner with schools, universities, companies, and other organizations to broaden opportunities for women across Africa.
Nigeria’s education system faces many challenges. High populations and limited resources strain schools, especially in rural areas. Teacher shortages, poor infrastructure, and limited access to technology prevent students from reaching their full potential.
Girls in particular face additional barriers, including cultural norms that de-prioritize their education. Schools often lack proper sanitation facilities, discouraging attendance. Gender stereotypes dissuade girls from pursuing science and technology fields.
The WAAW Foundation works to empower girls and young women through education. By visiting schools, they inspire students to dream big, challenge stereotypes, and gain skills for the future. Mentorship gives students role models and support to overcome systemic inequities. Extracurricular programs provide hands-on learning to spark their potential.
With more resources and volunteers, the WAAW Foundation can drive meaningful change. By investing in girls’ education, we invest in Nigeria’s future. The time is now to uplift the next generation of leaders.
The WAAW Foundation UI chapter conducted an outreach at Methodist Grammar School (Junior) in Bodija, Oyo State, on October 26, 2022. The goal was to inspire and empower female students to consider careers in STEM.
Seven WAAW fellows arrived at the school for a 50-minute session focused on junior secondary girls. Due to the large student population and limited time, the outreach was held with the JSS3 students in a spacious classroom.
The chapter lead began by explaining WAAW’s mission of encouraging girls and women in STEM. She described the various STEM fields and assured the students that each of them could succeed in these subjects.
The session continued with an interactive robotics experiment led by Young Taiwo, another WAAW fellow, and illustrated core concepts of computer programming in a fun and engaging way. They also described some exciting STEM career paths like computer programming, engineering, medicine, and research. Additionally, they also demonstrated the principles of computer programming and robotics by using the students to model the examples.
The hands-on nature of acting as “robots” and following precise directions gave the girls firsthand experience with foundational computer science concepts. Their bright eyes and big smiles revealed genuine enthusiasm. They soaked up the programming principles through playful interaction.
The experiment and discussion afterward aimed to empower young female students by showing them that they are capable of pursuing interests and careers in STEM fields.
The outreach had a profound impact on the students at Methodist Grammar School. Seeing the WAAW Foundation fellows conduct engaging STEM experiments right in their classroom was truly inspiring for many of the girls.
The Q&A session afterward allowed the students to explore further how STEM skills can open up opportunities in many fields, even outside of direct science roles. By showing their own diverse interests and accomplishments, the fellows motivated the students to dream big. Even those more inclined toward the arts or humanities saw how they could pursue their passions while still leveraging STEM to create and innovate.
The smiles and enthusiasm the students showed by the end of the 50-minute session made it clear the outreach succeeded at sparking inspiration. By exposing these young minds to STEM in an accessible, engaging way, the WAAW fellows helped empower them to believe in their potential. This motivation could be the starting point for great careers addressing society’s needs through science and technology.
The WAAW Foundation’s college volunteers are making a tangible difference in the lives of the students they visit, empowering the next generation to reach for their dreams. Through activities like the robotics experiment, they ignite curiosity and showcase career paths that students may not have previously considered.
Most importantly, the volunteers plant seeds of confidence that blossom into ambition. When young students see passionate role models who encourage them to pursue STEM, it expands their vision of what’s possible for their own future. They realize their full potential is not constrained by gender, background, or society’s expectations.
The Foundation’s outreaches inspire students to imagine a future where their talents are nurtured and they can access education without limits. However, WAAW needs your support to scale its mission. With more funding, the Foundation can conduct outreaches at many more schools, motivating countless students. Your donation will directly empower another student to pursue their purpose. Partner with the WAAW Foundation today to uplift the next generation of innovators and change-makers. Donate today and give the gift of education!