Mastercard has launched a new programme aimed at driving interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) among girls in Kenya aged between 10 and 12. Known as Girls4Tech, the programme which was launched yesterday in partnership with Youth for Technology will see thirty primary schools girls in Nairobi participate.
The programme also aims to ensure that women have a voice in the development of the products and services of the future, including Mastercard’s payments solutions.
“Research from the World Economic Forum has shown that while many traditional occupations may be disrupted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is expected to create a range of new jobs in fields such as STEM, data analysis, and computer science,” Chris Bwakira, Vice President and Area Business Head for East Africa at Mastercard said. “This means far more opportunities for Kenyans to develop home-grown solutions to the countries and the continent’s problems.”
The hands-on, inquiry-based programme connects Mastercard’s payment technology business to STEM principles and shows students that it takes all kinds of interests and skills to pursue a STEM career. Mastercard has set a goal to reach 200,000 girls aged 10-13 around the world with its Girls4Tech™ program by 2020.
“African university graduates with a STEM degree represent only two percent of the continent’s total university-age population but are increasingly needed across a wide variety of industries. As in more advanced economies, special attention should also be given to encouraging female STEM talent, as only 17 percent of students pursuing degrees in science and technology subjects in Kenya are women,” adds Bwakira.
With three stations based on algorithms, digital convergence, and cryptology, the Kenyan workshop brings to life the real-world applications of classroom maths and science lessons. Mastercard employees will serve as mentors and role models and guide participants through the exercises.
Over the past two months, Mastercard has hosted Girls4Tech workshops in more than 10 countries. The workshops assist girls to apply their own special skills, as well as math and science concepts they’re learning in school to solve real-life challenges. Through the past couple of months alone, Mastercard says it has reached over 1,400 students. This adds to the more than 30,000 girls across 17 countries who have participated in the program over the past three years.