As part of the Planet Earth Institute’s Science and Technology Enrolment Programme (STEP), the organisation hosted a week long event for 100 secondary school students entitled ‘Future Women Leaders in STEM’.
The event brought together a diverse group of experts, speakers, teachers and workshop leaders, who presented topics such as marine science, wildlife, engineering and everyday science. The four day programme also included a session looking at the career options that studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) can offer.
The STEP programme, explained Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, is a way “students can experience new and exciting elements of science, and understand its huge variations, forms and potential benefits”. Ensuring that women and girls have the opportunity to benefit from and contribute to the scientific advancement of Africa is of the upmost importance.
The end of the week long event concluded with a prize giving ceremony and a closing speech from Professor Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank. Basu claimed that women and girls will play a crucial role in Africa’s scientific revolution. President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim echoed this view, explaining that “it is critical that we inspire young people, especially young women, to pursue the sciences and realise the difference it can make to the country and the world”.
The event was hosted at the Medine Educational Village in Mauritius and was sponsored by a variety of organisations including the Mauritius Commercial Bank, WiseOceans, Casela World Adventures and the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre. Alongside making financial contributions several of the partners took part in organising educational activities for the 100 girls attending the event. Casela Adventures arranged hands-on activities working with animals. WiseOceans lead marine science and climate change courses, emphasising the importance of caring for the natural world.
The event ended with a prize giving ceremony. Outstanding students from the week were award prizes for the efforts by the Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, Lord Paul Boateng and Sir Magdi Yacoub.