STEMpower, a non-governmental organization promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education across Sub-Saharan Africa, has encouraged girls and women in Rwanda to embrace sciences and not perceive it as a men’s thing. ALSO READ: Girls in STEM: Celebrating gains and tackling challenges “Women in Africa have been left out in science excavations for a long time. At STEMpower we want to have girls in science as part of our DNA and strive to ensure they are being elevated and equipped, doing what their brothers are doing, because we believe they are all equal,” Espoir Serukiza, Israel Representative in Rwanda, said at the occasion of celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. “We want to see them making robots, excelling in mathematics, technology and more,” he added. The event brought together high school and university students, representatives of STEMpower and Ines Ruhengeri, as well as women who are already working in STEM related professions, on February 22 at Ines Ruhengeri, Musanze District. The university hosts one of the eight STEM centers established by STEMpower across the country. The facilities composed of a computer laboratory and an electronic laboratory, to help students gain hands-on skills and enhance innovation. The centers are established in secondary schools or universities to help bridge the digital divide by serving students in the given school, neighbouring schools and the surrounding community. ALSO READ: STEM: Motivating teachers to boost students’ interest in science Serukiza emphasized that STEMpower understands the importance of having well educated women and girls. “We are proud,” he added, “to see how the established STEM centers are already helping women and girls get hands-on computer and electronic skills.” ALSO READ: What must be done to enroll more girls in STEM Sabrine Iragena, a senior six student at St Vincent Secondary School in Musanze District, said the STEM center at Ines Ruhengeri is of great importance to her. “As a young girl aspiring to become a software engineer, the STEM center helps me to gain practical skills of what we are taught in class and allows me to do research and become innovative,” she said. Jean Bosco Baribeshya, Vice chancellor of Ines Ruhengeri, commended the strides already made by the country in bridging the digital divide between boys and girls. “Nowadays we have girls performing well in sciences and this was not the case before, because many girls would fear STEM studies. This should be proof to fellow women and girls that there is really nothing to fear in sciences,” Baribeshya said. Since expanding its footprint in Rwanda in May 2021, STEMpower has so far established eight STEM centers across the country, and plans to open up five additional centers before the end of this year. The existing centers are located in University of Rwanda- College of Science and Technology, Ines Ruhengeri, Kibogora Polytechnic and University of Rwanda- College of Education among others. The organization partners with the Israel Embassy in Rwanda. Besides Rwanda, STEMpower has already established STEM centers in many Sub-Saharan African countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya and Burundi among others.