American multinational pharmaceutical firm, Johnson & Johnson, has partnered with the University of Rwanda to promote the Women in Innovation (WiIN) programme targeting women graduates.
Under the initiative, that starts Monday, at least 1,000 young women graduates under the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEM) are expected to benefit.
STEM is increasingly being recognised as vital vehicle for development in the world, leading to a lot of support being rallied for women to step up and pursue careers in these areas.
Rwanda is fast becoming a technology innovation hub in Africa and has attracted a lot of international attention actors in tech innovation and research.
The programme will later be expanded to other African nations, building on the lessons learned and successes of the pilot edition in Rwanda.
The programme targets women graduates who are passionate and looking to pursue a career in STEM-related areas. This is in line with the company’s global commitment to increase the number of women in science and technology careers.
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Prof. Philip Cotton, the vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda, said the Women in Innovation programme is a welcome initiative aimed at promoting women’s role in STEM and their contribution to national development.
“University of Rwanda is committed to promoting women and we are doing as much as possible to promote and support women at the university. A majority of the students joining the programme are from University of Rwanda. They will have the opportunity to build their leadership skills and confidence,” Cotton said.
Seema Kumar, the vice-president of Innovation, Global Health and Policy Communication at Johnson & Johnson, said through the programme, participants will acquire the skills to be more successful in securing meaningful jobs, progress faster in their careers and be better prepared to balance family-work obligations.
“WiIN will focus on areas related to their field of study and employment, while increasing their confidence and providing a network of experienced lecturers and many other young women who can be peers and mentors,” she added.
Through the WiIN programme, participants will have the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, build professional networks, and learn practical tools for pursuing and maintaining a career in the sciences.