Interswitch Partners Slum2School Africa to Boost Skills in STEM

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Emma Okonji

Interswitch Limited, an integrated digital payment, and commerce company has partnered Slum2School, a leading volunteer driven community development organisation in Africa to build a STEM and innovation laboratory in the Makoko area of Yaba in Lagos State.

The ‘Slum2School STEM and innovation laboratory, powered by Interswitch, seeks to build skills and talents base around STEM. According to Interswitch, the desire to build STEM laboratory in Makoko, a community of over a hundred thousand people, where access to such opportunities are unavailable, underscores the fact that talent abounds everywhere and every child irrespective of their socio-economic class should have access to qualitative education and have opportunities to develop their talents and aspirations.

Speaking at the unveiling of the STEM and Innovation Lab in Makoko, last week, the CEO/GMD, Interswitch Group, Mitchell Elegbe said: “We are faced with a reality that requires us to take deliberate efforts to improve STEM education in Africa, if we are to solve the challenges that we face as a society. The development and transformation of any society today is largely dependent on a relevant skilled workforce and innovation, two factors that require strong STEM knowledge and application.”

Elegbe further explained that “STEM helps students learn things like critical thinking and problem solving, so they can be the next generation of leaders and innovators. At Interswitch, we want everyone to have that opportunity. That is why we are rolling out initiatives at different levels in the country that support and promote STEM education in Africa, from the InterswitchSPAK national science competition, to working with Slum2School to build STEM and Innovation labs across Africa, that will ignite, increase, and reward interest in STEM education.

Founder of Slum2School, Otto Orondaam, lauded Interswitch for trusting and partnering with Slum2School to deliver this standard of facility in a community that has so much to offer in terms of talents. He also commended the Lagos State Education Board for creating an enabling environment for partnerships like this to be fostered.

He said Slum2School has provided scholarships and various learning centres to over 1000 children from the Makoko community and is committed to providing access to quality education and psycho-social support for disadvantaged children in slums and remote communities
Orondaam added that “Working with thousands of children from Makoko community over the past six years, we have seen some of the brightest minds you could imagine and we know that the facility will enhance learning for every child who engages with it not just from Makoko alone, but across Lagos state.”

“Interswitch and Slum2School are on the right track to ensuring access to updated and relevant knowledge is provided for every child. We believe that this will be the first of many more STEM and Innovation Labs for children living across underdeveloped communities across Africa,” he said.

In an interactive session with the stakeholders present, the students from various secondary schools around Makoko and Lagos mainland who are beneficiaries of Slum2School Scholarship program, thanked Interswitch and Slum2School for building the facility in their community.