Breaking the STEM Gap in Rural Africa Through Advocacy and Communication

Dorcas and Deborah

This project was a blend of a leadership and career development and an advocacy and science communication project. It was thus a one-day miniature Heidelberg Laureate Forum organized at the Radach conference center in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana. In line with the theme of the project, the activities of the conference included career development to provide career guidance for high school students, mentorship, exhibition of science projects and speeches from distinguished scientists. All these were aimed at encouraging high school students to pursue STEM related courses while igniting and sustaining their interest in Mathematics and Science in general. In addition to the guest speaker, Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, who is a former Northern Regional Director of Education, other speakers at the event included Dr. Mary Pedavoah, a Biochemistry lecturer at the University for Development Studies and Dr. Kwara Nantomah who is head of the Mathematics Department at the University for Development Studies. Other mentors comprising of a civil engineer and the project coordinator for Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), a civil society organization in Ghana also graced the occasion. Dr. Kwara spoke on the practical application of STEM and pathways to increasing researchers in the field. His talk was followed by that of Dr. Mary Magdalene whose talk centered on the obstacles in pursuing a STEM career and the relevant attitude to succeed in them. The final speaker, Ms. Dorcas Attubea who delivered a talk on career opportunities in STEM. During the mentorship and career guidance phase of the conference, both students and experts alike had an opportunity to interact, where the students got an excellent opportunity to ask the experts questions and the experts shared their tips on how they managed to succeed in the field. The experts also shared their experiences and motivated the students on taking careers in Mathematics and Sciences. The students on the other hand had a comfortable atmosphere to ask questions on better ways to study and apply mathematics and science. One key side event during the conference was a scientific exhibition where some of the students from different high schools got to show the entire group of participants amazing projects they worked on. Among the exhibitions displayed included semi-automatic poultry incubator and a smart bin. The conference was very successful and was attended by 80 students from 8 senior high schools in the Northern Region of Ghana and their teachers and was well covered by national electronic and print media houses. The success and euphoria around this conference underlines and illustrates the desire for STEM in the region despite the many challenges in the area. In the interest of the advancement of STEM, it is thus imperative that this interest be harnessed and nurtured with similar projects in the future. The organizers are grateful to AlumNode for their generous financial support in financing this project and American Mathematical Society(AMS) specifically, Prof. Catherine Roberts who supplied us with STEM related leaflets to distribute to the students.

  • Written By:
  • Deborah Dormah Kanubala,
  • African Master in Machine Intelligence candidate, AIMS-Ghana