World Science Day for Peace & Development: Celebrating Women in Science
On the 10th of November each year, the world unites to celebrate World Science Day for Peace & Development. This annual event is a reminder of the crucial role that science plays in advancing society and fostering peace. With an emphasis on women in science, this day highlights the invaluable contributions of female scientists worldwide. However, the statistics regarding women in science are still dismal. According to a study the United Nations conducted in 14 countries, the probability of female students obtaining a degree in a science-related field is less than half that of men. This day holds great importance at Asante Africa Foundation. Our mission is to improve the above statistics and achieve gender equity by encouraging girls to pursue STEM, a rare interest for girls living in Africa.
Playing our part in including more girls in science:
World Science Day for Peace and Development underscores the importance of empowering and encouraging more women to pursue careers in science. A line of work in science requires more than just the student’s interest in the subject. We must focus on the tools, educational resources, and facilities conducive to technology literacy. Asante Africa often provides science equipment and STEM curriculum to classrooms and teachers in rural East Africa. These include laptops, LCD projectors, hotspots, and workbooks essential to developing 21st-century skills. Additionally, Asante Africa Foundation is a crucial change agent that provides the science and laboratory equipment for authentic hands-on learning, giving many children in our programs a chance to interact with laboratory equipment for the first time.
Our efforts have certainly borne fruitful results. Rahel B. Faustine of Tanzania — supported through primary and secondary school by Asante Africa Foundation, one of seven children nurtured by their mother’s subsistence farming — is one of our many success stories. She completed her secondary education and joined Arusha Technical College in 2016 to pursue Electronics and Telecommunications engineering.
“I decided to pursue Electronics Engineering because I was curious. People discouraged me and told me a woman couldn’t be an engineer. I want to work hard to change these thoughts. I want to prove that a girl can achieve anything with focus and vision. An educated girl has the potential to change the world.”
Like Rahel, dozens of girls supported by Asante Africa Foundation dream of pursuing a career in STEM. These girls show early signs of success when they collaborate on the many projects that help polish their skills and prowess. A brilliant example was when Asante Africas’ Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) student club leaders and first-year high school students Margaret and Raina from Wamba Girls Secondary School in Kenya found a solution for the dirty water waste problem in their community. Through their hard work, the girls invented a water purifier that desalinates water. In 2022, these young innovators presented their water purifier to Kenya’s NTV TV station (watch the girls demonstrate the water purifier on NTV here).
Margaret and Raina won the Young Scientist Kenya Award 2022 for their water purifier invention, and the girl’s innovation was even recognized on Earth Day 2023 by Michelle Obama.
With continuing support from our donors, we are seeing what our girls can do, and we are paving the way for many more girls to follow. We are working toward a future where an African girl in science is no longer a rarity.
WRITTEN BY: Mayuri Goswami