Popular nonprofit CRDF Global and Africa’s the Bunengi Foundation have launched a new African Women STEM Scholarship and Training Program to train African women students in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
The announcement was made during the 2nd Bunengi STEM African First Ladies Roundtable in New York during the UN General Assembly.
“The Bunengi Foundation and CRDF Global share a common commitment to bring about lasting, sustainable positive change in African countries,” CRDF Global President and CEO Cathy Campbell said. “We have chosen to concentrate on women scientists because we feel they hold the key to a great leap in Africa’s development.”
Advancement in STEM fields holds the greatest promise to boost Africa’s economic development and improve living standards, since most common development challenges all require science and technology solutions. Harnessing the human potential to meet these challenges requires educating an under-utilized source of human intellect: the girls and women of Africa, who have for years been under-represented in education.
Savannah Maziya, Chairperson, Bunengi Foundation said, “We are committed to working with public, private and philanthropic partners who share our mission to support the integration of girls and women in careers that support Africa’s development.”
The training and mentoring of African women scientists and engineers is expected to provide them the tools to transform the continent. The partners hope to increase the number of African women in STEM fields, who can then serve as role models and mentors to encourage girls to choose STEM careers.
At the start, this partnership will provide scholarships for top African women students to pursue STEM graduate degrees in U.S. universities but envisions setting up STEM research and education centers in Africa to train more African women in African universities. It also plans to have K-12 STEM Academies to attract girls to STEM careers from an early age and encompass technology entrepreneurship training and enlargement to other continents.
There have been several such initiatives on the continent. Do you think this initiative will achieve its target?