Wsigad, an initiative that encourages girls to pursue scientific fields

Women Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Inspiring Girls for Africa’s Development (WSIGAD) is a Senegal based Non-government Organization (NGO) that aims at encouraging high school girls to venture into scientific fields.

WSIGAD was founded in 2020. It is an initiative led by students and graduates of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Through training workshops, talk shows and webinars, members of WSIGAD challenge African female students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). During such meetings, the students exchange information with model women scientists. They are also educated on the various opportunities offered by mathematics, computer science, and technology studies.

WSIGAD is funded by Ndèye Niang. Ndèye Niang is a teacher-researcher in statistics at the CNAM (Paris) and also a lecturer at AIMS.

“We noticed that the little girls were very interested in this. I thought it would be good if she could do it more regularly ”, Ndèye recounts.

In March 2021, WSIGAD organized a webinar on “The impact of STEM in Africa’s development: issues and challenges”.

Again, in August 2021, it organized another webinar on ‘Artificial Intelligence and Robotics’ during which young African women scientists in the given fields shared their experience to inspire African girls.

However, the NGO’s main activity remains the organization of training workshops, a program that is particularly appreciated by secondary school girls who discover STEM in a practical way. WSIGAD’s last training workshop was organized in February, on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The event was celebrated in partnership with Orange Digital Center, Senegal. During this event, the girls discovered the computer tool and were introduced to coding.

In the future, the WSIGAD intends to diversify its activities. It will organize activities including mini competitions and Olympiads to reward the winners. This is to encourage the girls as well to promote interest in STEM.

The NGO also has plans to organize visits to companies with the high school girls. The intent is to help the girls see how STEM is applied in everyday life; how in a fun way mathematics can be useful.

There is also the fun aspect. “In Africa, we have several games like Awalé, which are actually mathematics. We could put these games in the hands of young people and ask them to imagine an algorithm, Explains Ndèye Niang.

WSIGAD also aims to extend its activities to other countries, such as Cameroon, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. In the long term, WSIGAD will expand to all African countries to impact more girls.

REFERENCE

Information from www.africawomenexperts.com was used in this report

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