Girls get practical lessons in science, technology

About 100 female youth from different schools around the country yesterday converged at the IPRC Institute of Science and Technology, Kicukiro to take part in a science innovation exercise organised by Heart2Vocie, an organisation that aims at encouraging more women to study science and technology-related courses.
Jeannine Uwibambe, a tutorial assistant (C), guides students. (Timothy Kisambira)
Jeannine Uwibambe, a tutorial assistant (C), guides students. (Timothy Kisambira)

About 100 female youth from different schools around the country yesterday converged at the IPRC Institute of Science and Technology, Kicukiro to take part in a science innovation exercise organised by Heart2Vocie, an organisation that aims at encouraging more women to study science and technology-related courses.

During the exercise, tutors took girls through hands-on work such as AM radio assembling, solar power system setup, creation of mobile applications and electrical circuits for lighting.

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A student follows the speeches. (Timothy Kisambira)

While witnessing the practical lessons, Germaine Kamayirese, the Minister of State for Energy and Water, said that despite growing enthusiasm to study science disciplines, the number of women employed in the science sector remains very low compared to men.

“Girls still have a challenge of taking up science disciplines like electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and telecommunication systems which would make them compete with men,” Kamayirese said.

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Students fix a mechanical motor. (Timothy Kisambira)

She reminded girls that whatever jobs a man can do, a woman too can provided she has the required skills. She also advised women not to look at science subjects as complicated, because it creates a negative impression towards these disciplines. Kamayirese added that: “Without this complexity, the resultant electrician or engineer would be substandard.”

The minister said that Heart2voice was doing a good job in empowering the girl-child.

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Rita Mulabazo (L) together with Germaine Kamayirese, State Minister for Energy, Water and Sanitation, explain to student. (Timothy Kisambira)

Heart2Voice team was created in October 2013 when the first group of Rwandan women was selected as emerging leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), to take part in a five-week mentorship programmme in Silicon Valley, USA under the TechWomen. Six women from Rwanda were hosted at Twitter, LinkedIn, Symantec, VMware NetOptics and Pacific Gas and Electric Company PG&E in the USA.

After the training, the team now promotes building skills in young women in Rwanda.

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Members of Her2Voice in a group photo. (Timothy Kisambira)

According to Angel Bishamaza, a founder of Heart2Voice, some women are still being held back by shyness to engage in science disciplines. Bishamaza mentioned that: “Only training the girls at the young age would inspire them and to stand the same chances in the employment sector.”

Jeannine Uwibambe, a tutorial assistant at the College of Science and Technology, said: “Sometimes, family background determines interest in choice of areas of specialisation, but taking them through such practical experience motivates them and even their parents pick interest,” she said.

Jasmine Ingabire, a participant from Gashora Girls School, said the training had boosted her holiday skills package. “I have learnt many things, especially in communication systems, like how to create mobile applications which I can use in daily life,” Ingabire said.

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