THE world is continually evolving and not everything is an improvement. It is true that every civilisation battles its own demons and challenges. Nowhere had it been more present than the exceptional burden of disease, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the HIV/Aids scourge, which had especially left it tragic mark on the African continent.
This is said to be the ideal time and opportunity to empower young female scientists as women constitute more than half of the global population. The “new normal” calls for the world to be prepared, but never more than in the STEM industry. Women, it is said, needed to be included in science as never before to deal with global issues.
The United Nations had on various news platforms called for the increase of female scientists in STEM and Rwanda is pulling out all the stops to see their young students meet the global need.
One Health, a multi-disciplinary field examining links between human activity, animals and the environment, maintains that the future lay in the hands of young girls, traditionally known for entering “soft careers.” Their approach called for everyone, not just male scientists, to be prepared to respond to future global health emergencies.
In Rwanda, a programme had been launched to inspire future young female scientists to focus on STEM careers. The One Health Fellowship, supported by various universities in the country and funded by the Cummings Foundation*, is targeting female students between the ages of 14 to 16 to choose a career path in the sciences.
Across the country, seminars had been arranged at secondary schools in collaboration with the Rwandan Association for Women in Science and Engineering, to assist female students with information regarding STEM. As part of this strategy, learners had the opportunity to interact with established female scientists on global health issues who would act as role models. This saw high-level academics from the University of Rwanda, the University of Global Health Equity, the University of Kigali, and the Adventist University of Central Africa, give of their time and expertise.
The United Nations had said on more than one occasion that an urgent need existed to engage more girls to enter scientific fields with a holistic interdisciplinary approach.
*The James H Cummings Foundation had been awarding grants to beneficiaries across the world for more than 50 years, especially non-profit organisations.