Nine Zambian girls have been selected to participate in the Johannesburg Science Exposition aimed at introducing the young girls to science-career advancement opportunities.
The nine girls who are coming from various rural secondary schools in Zambia have since travelled to South Africa for a one week science exposition.
According to a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka by Press Secretary to the High Commission of Zambia in South Africa, Nicky Shabolyo, the girls were drawn from rural schools in five of the ten provinces of Zambia.
The exposition has also attracted 10 girls from Zimbabwe and 11 others from South Africa.
And Tauangana Africa founder, Sandra Tererai said at the opening of the expo at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg yesterday that the event was meant to provide high school girls from rural disadvantaged communities with a world-class opportunity to access and explore the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Ms Tererai said that in line with the SADC protocol on Science Technology and Innovation, Taungana was a regionally integrated approach to tackling the socio-economic and gender hindrances to STEM involvement for rural high school girls in Sub-Saharan Africa with an initial focus on Southern Africa.
She pointed out that the Taungana STEM expo was a practical STEM career guidance programme that will give the 30 rural high school “ambassadors” in the southern African region an opportunity to connect with STEM professionals, get exposure to leading STEM organizations, STEM career paths and most importantly become STEM promotion ambassadors in their own communities.
She further said that according to UNESCO an estimated 2.5 million new engineers and technicians are required in Sub-Sahara Africa alone to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of improved water and sanitation.
Ms Tererai said to achieve such aims, there was need to attract every young mind to engineering, especially in the developing world where attracting more women to the fields in which they are underrepresented must be part of the solution.
And First Secretary for Education at the Zambian High commission in South Africa, Emmerentiana Bweupe said the event was a rare initiative in that it had been designed in a fashion that many other organizations had feared to venture into.
Mrs Bweupe said she was optimistic that the initiative will go a long way in contributing to the development of Africa because it focused on fields which were critical if communities were to attain meaningful development.
She also commended the 30 girls for making it through to the final stage of the selection process and urged them to realize that they were privileged in that such opportunities did not come easily.
Mrs Bweupe further urged the girls to ensure that they interact and establish lifelong relations and take the opportunity as a stepping stone and the beginning of bigger things in their lives.
The nine Zambian participants are chileshe Bwalya, Marrian Chitalu from Luapula, Chippo Manda and More Musamba from Central, Chibwe Chishimba Western, Monica Chitimbwa and Odilia Kapacha Northen, Chpo Kabanyame and Florence Mulongo Southern provinces.
They have been accompanied by M. Ndiyoi Muliwana from the Ministry of Education and Ms Regina Mtonga from Asikana Networks as their patrons