By Nosa Alekhuogie
As part of Mastercard’s commitment to connect women in Africa to opportunities that will enable them to make a living and follow their passion,Mastercard has rolled out its first digital Girls4Tech Connect programme in partnership with Junior Achievers (JA) in Nigeria and Kenya.
According to a statement released by the technology company, the initiative offers activities and a curriculum built on global science and math standards.
It also incorporates Mastercard’s deep expertise in technology and innovation, enabling students to discover a range of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers such as fraud detective, data scientist and software engineer.
Starting as a hands-on, in-person session run by employee volunteers, the programme has expanded to cover topics such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, with enhanced access to its STEM curriculum through a digital learning experience ‘Girls4Tech Connect’ as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a global surge in online learning.
The Director, Marketing and Communications, Mastercard sub-Saharan Africa, Ifeoma Dozie, in the statement, said: “We are incredibly proud of the strides that we are making with Girls4Tech Connect, in Sub Sahara Africa. The success of the programme in Nigeria and Kenya last year, indicates that there is a strong need for this kind of intervention, where our future female leaders are given the opportunity to be exposed to new STEM career possibilities.”
As part of the programme course work, participants will gain valuable insight on the various STEM career opportunities in area’s such as algorithms, digital convergence, and encryption, all of which are buzz words in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Addressing the partnership with Junior Achievers Nigeria, Mastercard said: “Girl empowerment is extremely important to us at JA Nigeria.
In addition to the leadership and development programs we run aimed at empowering the girl child, we believe our girls should be equipped with technology skills and encouraged to pursue careers in STEM.”
“Women on an average earn about 25-40 per cent less than men who do the same job and makeup only about 22 per cent of the Engineering and Technology University graduates each year.
“The combination of women earning less than men and the low rate of women in STEM leaves girls highly disadvantaged.
Since it is clear that the future of work is filled with jobs that require digital and technical skills, it is very critical to reach girls at an early age so that they are empowered to have a successful future,” the statement stated further.