International Day of women and girls in Science is a day established in 2015 by the United Nations to recognize the role played by women in the fields of STEM. The 2018 theme was ‘Gender Equality and parity in Science for Peace Development’ this was advocating for the development of society with putting women and the girl child at the centre as well as fostering gender equality through the inclusion of women and the girl child in technological advances.
The 2019‘s theme dubbed ‘Investment in Women and Girls In Science For Inclusive Green Growth ‘This is a program which women and girls showcase their talent, creativeness as well as come up with innovative solutions to problems affecting various communities for Green Growth.
Youth for innovation Trust in partnership with Techwomen Zimbabwe have begun the 2019. Technovation Challenge is a flagship program of non-profit Iridescent is the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. Every year Technovation Challenge Challenges 10-18 year old girls to identify various community problems and come up with Innovative solutions to these every day problems.
This saw YIT having a hackathon this past weekend at MaNdwandwe High School in Nkulumane focusing at empowering the girl child in terms of technology as well as well as new innovations. Part of the schools that took part in the hackathon include Cowdray Park Secondary School. St Columbas, Nkulumane High School, TshebeTshebe elementary school, Mandwandwe High school and others.
Technovation Challenge season which saw the process of mobilizing students from various local schools in Bulawayo, Tsholotsho and Beit bridge targeting girls for junior and senior teams at the age of 10-14 and 15 -18 respectively. Mentors meeting was held in Bulawayo to equip the mentors with the curriculum as well as getting feedback from them on their plans for the 2019 season of the Technovation Challenge
Some of the schools Youth For Innovation Trust has worked with over the years under this program include Masiyephambili, Girls College, Faith Christrian College, Pace College, Eveline Girls High, Tshebetshebe Elementary School, BES college, Tropical Vineyard, among others. The 2018 regional pitch was won by Masiyephambili College. Some of the partners that Youth for Innovation Trust has worked with under this program include Computer Society, Nust American Space, and Destiny Changers as well the City of Bulawayo.
This program has been running since 2009 and has seen over 15000 girls participating from over 100 countries. It seeks to promote girl participation In STEM related fields and being part of community development as well as bringing change to their communities. According to research 25% of women take part in STEM related subjects and many countries continue to foster and encourage women to enter into STEM.
Thando Gwinji the Technovation Challenge Regional Ambassador emphasized on the need for girls to take part in STEM related subjects as well as bring about equality in all sectors including being part of the 4th Industrial Revolution.’ Over the years we have seen many people fighting for equality as well as inclusion but a few have advocated for the girl child to be included and given the opportunity to take part in the ICT sector” she said
“As an organization we will work hard on this season of the Technovation Challenge to create platforms for girls to be part of ICT, we have hackathons and several mentorship programs lined up for this year as part of fostering development through putting the girl child at the Centre” she said