After a successful first edition, the 2063 Academy, the 2nd edition, and it has served as a platform for connecting the African youth with their peers across the continent. These connections come in the form of promoting, discussing, and debating Agenda 2063, towards providing best practices and actionable ideas; that will ultimately empower young people in Africa, to achieve the Africa we want. It is through this program that the participants from Cameroon came together and during the training, they’ve developed a project idea on Gender Equality, and have embarked on carrying out their project by holding an informative workshop, with the goal of teaching, inspiring and empowering young people on the positives of Gender Equality for both boys and girls; and how it relates to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) thus encouraging more young girls to join STEM related education fields.
The event had as central theme: STEM, A CATALYST FOR GENDER EQUALITY. Statistics have shown that the major problem limiting the adoption of STEM across many communities and cultures, especially in Africa, is the misrepresented idea that STEM related fields are mostly favorable to boys. Further compounding to the problem is the fact that these misconceptions have over time been shaped by sociocultural and economic underpinnings that have to date interjected with the progress that society as a whole has made, towards advancing the cause of equal opportunities in education for boys and girls. This is why to ensure success, group 18 decided to enlist the support of three speakers, in the persons of Mrs Abigail Abamukong, Mr Cheghe Perez and Ms Tabitha Achere, with additional comments from group 18 members; Koh Herman and Eyong Ashu, specialists in their respective fields; with vast amounts of experience, while being outstanding in their respective areas of work.
Abigail Abamukong is CEO/Founder of Belie Health Foundation, Cheghe Perez is Co-founder of the Brains Association and Lifafa Research Foundation, and Tabitha Achere is a Data Scientist, Koh Herman is National Coordinator of Projects at Better World Cameroon and also the Founder/CEO of Njangi, a sustainable T-shirt Brand, while Eyong Ashu is a Medical Doctor. During the workshop, the speakers touched on various subjects among which were, the Sustainable Development Goals, Leadership Development, Digital Innovation and Technology, Social Entrepreneurship, and Small Business/Enterprise Creation. However, the focus was really on Financial Inclusion for Women, Women empowerment for Sustainable Development, and Child marriage and Domestic Violence, respectively.
The event was a success as it had an attendance of 70 people, 60 of whom were participants and 10 the organizers, while 45 participants were between the ages of 14-25. As per statistics obtained after analyzing data from the questionnaires given to the participants, it was found out that:
– 67% and 33% of respondents were female and male respectively.
– 84% of respondents think STEM subjects majorly favor boys, while 16% think both boys and girls have an equal opportunity at STEM subjects.
– 60% of female respondents would have opted for STEM related education, if they had been encouraged to do so by a male parental figure, at a younger age, while 40% don’t think it would have made much of a difference in their choice of study.
– At least 70% of respondents believe the aversion that young girls have for STEM fields are due to sociocultural and economic underpinnings while 30% don’t think these affect the choice of study chosen by girls.
– Over 80% of all respondents would like to see more women in STEM fields at all levels, and are willing to do something to make it happen.
– 60 Secondary and High school students were directly impacted by the project, with 500+ indirectly impacted through personal and social media outreaches (Whatsapp, Facebook, Fliers etc).
– The event’s post reached over 1000 people, across the group’s collective social media followers.
– All 60 participants acknowledged the importance of such workshops as vital to the efforts aimed at increasing female participation in STEM fields, and are open to attending more of such events.
A big thank you to Atlas For Development, Peace First, Njangi and The Brains Association, for making this event possible and for giving young people a voice; to demonstrate that youth are indeed capable of leading and creating positive impact towards making the world a better place.