Mastercard recently hosted its first digital Girls4Tech Connect Marathon in Sub-Saharan Africa to inspire and prepare 515 girls aged 7-12 to pursue careers in Science and Technology.
Launched in 2014, the program is centered on a unique, interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum that aims to impact five million girls globally by 2025. Based on global science and math standards, it incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in technology and innovation, enabling students to discover a range of STEM careers, such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer.
“Global stats show that 80 percent of jobs created in the next decade will require some combination of STEM skills. Yet only 30 percent of the science and technology workforce is currently comprised of women,” says Kamini Redhi, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Mastercard, Sub-Saharan Africa. “At Mastercard, we are tackling this challenge head on. Through Girls4Tech, our goal is to build foundational STEM knowledge and develop the critical skills that girls need for their studies and career success. By providing real life and hands-on activities for each concept, Mastercard volunteers show young girls that being friendly, enthusiastic, mathematical, artistic, scientific, logical, and even creative are all skills that connect to a STEM career.”
Starting as a hands-on, in-person session run by employee volunteers, the programme has expanded to cover topics such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, with enhanced access to its STEM curriculum through digital sessions and even a digital learning experience on its website, Girls4Tech – as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a global surge in online learning.
As part of the virtual marathon, Mastercard volunteers from across the continent hosted a series of virtual Girls4Tech sessions at schools in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to help equip girls with the foundational STEM knowledge and skills they need for their studies and career success.
The primary schools selected for this Girls4Tech marathon have prioritized STEM subjects as part of their curriculum and are excited to participate in the initiative.
Bongani Mgoqi, Principal at Tshedimosho Mahlaleng Primary School in Soweto, South Africa says: “We’ve noted that young girls still believe that careers in STEM are not meant for them. We appreciate the role that companies such as Mastercard are playing in giving girls from all walks of life an opportunity to change this narrative by exposing them to the diverse career opportunities available to them in STEM.”
“Mastercard’s Girls4Tech programme is a great initiative,” agreed Hannah Umoh, Program Manager at Government Primary school in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria. “We want our girls to have confidence in their ability to succeed in STEM related careers and to recognize that they can achieve anything. Our girls were excited to participate in the programme, and we believe this sort of exposure and encouragement is exactly what we need to build the future female leaders of tomorrow.” Miss Umoh added.
“Our girls are very excited to be taking part in this programme and to be learning new things about STEM related careers. Girls4Tech is an important initiative to exposing our girls to the digital future,” says Daniel Muthee, Principal at Woodcreek School in Nairobi, Kenya.
The award-winning Girls4Tech programme has already reached more than 2 million girls across 49 countries including more than 2500 in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.