Group, US Educate Nigerian Girls on Science, Technology

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Emma Okonji

Vision 2020 Youth Empowerment and Restoration Initiative, in collaboration with the United State Embassy in Nigeria, recently advised young Nigerian girls to be more determined and focused in their passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at school, in order to develop skills in that would enable them make a difference in their chosen career.

The advice came during the celebration International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which was marked globally.
In Nigeria, Vision 2020 collaborated with the US Embassy and Silverbird Cinemas to celebrate young Nigerian girls in Lagos, where female students were drawn from various schools in Lagos, and given motivational talks, designed to re-shape their views and educational thoughts.

At the event in Lagos, the students were shown a three-hour motivation movie titled: ‘Hidden Figures’, which was about how three brilliant African-American women who successfully broke racial and gender barriers to contribute to America’s race to the moon.

In his opening remarks, the United States Consul General, John Bray, cited a report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which stated that only around 30 per cent of all female students around the world select STEM-related fields in higher education, a situation that he advised Nigerian girls to change the narrative through self determination.

He however said although the Nigerian girls invited for the international day celebration, were students who are interested in STEM, they must be determined to always make a difference in their career.

According to Bray, “The world is rapidly changing, thanks to technology and innovations that were unimaginable not that long ago. I think you have heard of many of them: driverless vehicles, drones, lasers, artificial intelligence, robotics, and nanotechnology. If you haven’t heard of them, I recommend that you start reading about them. Mastering technologies such as these will be key to many of the job opportunities of the future.”

He added: “You must be confident in your intelligence and demonstrate the determination and drive to succeed in any career path that you choose. Challenge yourselves, learn more about successful women in STEM fields, and draw inspiration from them. The U.S. government is convinced that when barriers to the participation of women and girls in the STEM fields are removed, women do better, families do better, countries do better, and the world does better. Whether at home or abroad, promoting women in the STEM fields is a priority of the US government.”

A motivational speaker, Dr. Ibilola Amao, advised the girls on the need to do more of team work in their chosen career, coupled with hard-work, and resilience. She advised them to take opportunity of Nigeria’s natural resources and convert them into something more lucrative that will generate more jobs and wealth for the nation.