Asus has today promised awarded the winners of the first All Africa Girls science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competition hosted by the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE).
The firm said it will award the 1st prize winner a Transformer Book T100 laptop and the 2nd prize winner a Fonepad 7 tablet that will in-turn go a long way in enhancing their digital skills.
In a statement regarding this year’s fair, Mr. Chris Wen, the Country Product Manager for Asus Kenya said, ”The importance of supporting girls in the STEM subjects cannot be overstated. It is for this reason that we have decided to award the winning individuals as an indication of our support and resolve in breaking the education barriers for women and girls.”
Featuring a team of 35 all-female finalists drawn from the 15 African countries where FAWE has presence namely Kenya, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar.
The competition which will take place between the 14th -15th of August is aimed at developing creativity and innovation among girls aside from increasing the number of female students engaged in STEM projects at school, national and regional level by 40% by 2017.
Kenya has sent 6 participants. Over the years, women have generally lagged behind their male counterparts in STEM related careers. For example, according to the Institution of Engineers of Kenya 2012 records, female graduate engineers accounted for only 3.4 % against an overwhelming 96.6% for male graduate engineers.
Further statistics paint a grim picture. According to a report published by Unicef in 2006, nineteen sub-Saharan African countries have a female literacy rate below 30 percent while equivalent rates for males reflect a figure twice as high.
FAWE believes that such situations can only change through the partnership it fosters with like minded brands such as Asus who works towards achieving the overall mission it has.
“FAWE creates programs that offer girls the opportunity for hands-on activities more specifically in STEM related subjects. We believe that the collaborations we form with brands such as Asus in giving incentives to our girls will go a long way in achieving and sustaining our overall goal.” said Martha Muhwezi, FAWE Senior Programme Manager at the Regional Secretariat.