On the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the African Development Bank calls on African countries to make science, technology and innovation (STI) policies inclusive and to place women and girls at the centre of STI programmes.

Celebrated each year on February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. The day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.

“Africa cannot talk about innovations without investing in its human capital. Support and mentorship are essential to increasing the participation of youth and women in science and technology,” said Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank.

“Decision-makers must prioritize the inclusion of youth and women in science and technology. African entrepreneurs and innovators must also be equipped with the right skills to succeed in a rapidly changing workforce.”

Through its numerous interventions in this area, the African Development Bank is pointing the way to how women and girls can be supported to make a difference in science and innovation.

For instance, through the Nigeria Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF), the Bank is providing scholarships to African students to develop and build their capacities in science and technology at the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, the country’s capital.

One of the beneficiaries of the scholarship, Sandra Musu Jusu of Sierra Leone, is gaining global attention with her research into an alternative treatment for breast-cancer, an ailment that is prevalent among African women.

Musu Jusu, a Sierra Leonean, said, “I am happy the scholarship came at the time it did, as it helped me remain focused on my goals which is to become a researcher. My Master of Science project is focused on breast cancer − the violent cancer types that kill African women.”

According to María-José Moreno, Chief Gender Officer at the African Development Bank, “In its operations supporting science, technology and innovation in Africa, the Bank has set indicators reducing gender gaps amongst students, and amongst teachers.”

A society needs the talent of all its citizens, men and women, and cannot thrive when half of the population does not develop its potential, she said.

The African Development Bank uses a multi-pronged approach to support girl’s education especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Between 2005-2017, the Bank approved US $2 billion to support more than 70 education projects for Africa. US $ 52 million in support to technical vocational education, training, and teacher education in Tanzania is helping reduce gender imbalance in science and technology related programs where female participation was only 11-19%.

10,800 students, 50% of them female, have benefited from the program

Through the bank’s support of the Network of African Institutions of Science and Technology (SNAIST) Project, the 510 students graduated from Master’s and Ph.D programmes, with 48.9 % being female. The project awarded 48 scholarships to students, including young women.

The goal of the African Development Bank project is to contribute to the building of high-skilled human capital, especially in science and technology for the technological advancement of the African continent.

One of the graduates, Ufuoma Bright Ighore and her professor, were awarded first prize in the 2nd international Bernard P. Zeigler Discrete Event System Specification modelling and simulation competition in Boston, Massachusetts.

In Rwanda, the Bank’s support to science technology and skills development is promoting girls in science and technology and mathematics (STEM) and providing skills transfer through scholarships, professional internships and knowledge transfer partnerships.

In South Africa, the Bank is contributing to the realization of an environment for sustainable employment and inclusive growth in the natural minerals and extractive industry in South Africa with the use of science technology innovation, targeting 50% female beneficiaries.

Mpho Phalwane, studying for her M.Phil. in Sustainable Mineral Development, is one of the students supported under this project and is researching the rehabilitation of abandoned asbestos mines in South Africa.

Speaking of her experience, she says, “I believe that mining is a good vehicle for development in Africa, and I am excited about our role in ensuring it is of a sustainable kind. The important work of moving forward does not wait to be done by perfect men. In that spirit, we should then not be afraid to keep trying.”

Photo: Woman in Science (credit: AfDB)

As part of its programmes in promoting science, technology and innovation, the bank is co-hosting the third Africa Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation in Cairo, Egypt, from February 10-12.

The Forum, with the theme, “STI for Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Transformation in Africa,” also features a parallel session on “Women in Science: Addressing the Gender Gap in the Field of Science, Technology and Innovation”.

“Creating more equitable and inclusive societies requires that women and men are distributed across the different professions, including science, technology and innovation. This will foster social progress, cohesion and make societies and economies more resilient,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the African Development Bank.

Source: AfDB


No comments to display.

Related posts

Increasing investment in Australian AgTech pivotal to our economic success: report

A new report released today by the United States Studies Centre – the first of its kind –analyses the volume, value, and makeup of AgTech investment in Australia.

EU-funded scientists developed adaptable ground and aerial robots that can transform farming

Utilising the data delivered from the UAV, the UGV prototype, called Bonirob, autonomously navigates its environment and performs actions at set locations. For example, it can spray a pesticide onto a selected crop area, and in the case of weed presence, it can get rid of them mechanically, avoiding the use of dangerous herbicides.

Call for Applications: The Tech Startups Challenge for women inclusion in Africa

To promote entrepreneurial initiatives managed by women and/or men, tackling the challenges of women's inclusion and gender inequalities – whether social, economic, cultural or political – and leveraging digital innovation for their development.
Application Deadline in a month

Call for Applications: Travel tech start-ups in Europe

The Call TRAVEL-TECH INNOVATION CONTEST 2018 is looking for incorporated companies, operating (mainly, but not exclusively) in the field of Travel-Tech with expertise in INCOMING / INTEGRATION OF TRAVEL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS with SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE IN BOOKING and API DESIGN/IMPLEMENTATION with an idea, a project and/or in any case able to help us to RENEW the process of interfacing Zani Viaggi’s booking with the different players of the national and international market to allow real-time bookings of the experiences in the portfolio in view of the specific administrative and tax requirements that the different domestic tax systems entail.
Application Deadline in 15 days

Tierion: Utilizing the Bitcoin Blockchain to Verify Documents

The Tierion’s development includes contributions from developers across the globe. The platforms code is open-source, and the development team invites programmers to help improve the coding.

SET Award 2019: Call for applications for top innovators in the energy transition

The SET initiative invites start-ups around the world to present their business ideas.
Application Deadline in 3 months

EU's Call for Proposals: ERANETs in agri-food

The agri-food sector needs to take more advantage of the potential of digital technologies. Relevant technologies may include Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data technologies, remote and localised sensing.
Application Deadline in 3 months

EU's Call for Proposals: Integrated storage systems for residential buildings

The combination of renewable energy with storage is key to support the next generation of very low or plus energy houses. Such storage equipment will be exploited first and mostly in the residential buildings (existing and new ones).
Application Deadline in 4 months

3D visualization of GIS data in coconut plantation management: challenges and opportunities

The aim of this paper is to reveal the existing challenges and find opportunities of online 3D visualization of GIS data in coconut plantation management.

Construction of an in-situ smart device that measures some basic environmental factors for agricultural monitoring

In this work, a portable and user friendly smart Automated Weather Station (AWS) was constructed. The device that is programmed with Arduino UNO is capable of measuring the temperature, relative humidity and moisture content of the soil.