Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria (APWEN) say it will train over 500 Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teacher in public secondary schools in the six geo- political zones in the country to boost capacity for professionals.
President of APWEN, Engineer Funmilola Ojelade disclosed this in Lagos at the flag off ” She Engineer Invent it, build it Project.
Describing She Engineer project as a capacity programme for female engineers and Stem Teachers in Nigeria, Ojelade said the body recently entered into a productive partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineer (RAE) , United Kingdom , from which it obtained a grant to carry out the She Engineer Invent it, Build It project.She said the grant awarded to APWEN by RAE was under the United Kingdom Global Challenges Research Fund ( GCFR).
The aim of the GCFR Africa , she said is a catalyst programme aimed at strengthening professional engineering bodies in sub – Saharan Africa ; effective promotion of the profession as well as share best practices and increase local engineering capacity to drive development.
Ojelade said APWEN’s desire was to meet the global requirements of promoting diversity and advocacy for the girl child STEM education in Nigeria.
She said the project places emphasis on engineering education , training of Nigerian workforce by strengthening the capacity of local work force in bridging yawning gaps in society .She said : ” While encouraging inclusion and gender participation in engineering services to meet socio economic objectives of community based engineering projects and practices in Nigeria.
Speaking further on the project, Engineer Ojelade said :” APWEN will execute the She Engineer project by training female engineers and STEM teachers as well as mentoring pupils in STEM. This will help to promote STEM and ultimately increase the number of female engineers in sub – Saharan Africa that will solve Africa’s problems.” Engineers are problem solvers.
This is not limited to technological problems alone . Engineers solve problems of institution building , management processes , administration as well as governance. ”
She Engineer project is attuned with existing government initiatives on youth empowerment . Hence, we encourage all critical stakeholders from our communities to buy into this youth centered , community empowering project , to ensure its long term sustainability from start to shake up to achieve the envisaged socio economic benefits.”
Also speaking , Project Director, grant awardee and immediate past president of APWEN , Dr Felicia Agubata said the body is on a mission to close gender gap in engineering and change misplaced perceptions of what engineer should look like.Agubata said :”
Engineering is the most male dominated field on STEM . It may perhaps be the most male dominated profession in Nigeria with women making up to thirteen per cent of the engineering work force as revealed by a research carried out in 2019.”
As. Important as it is to investigate what deters young women from pursuing these carreer , we should also take a closer look at how we can encourage secondary school girls to follow their dreams which would introduce a broader range of knowledge and ideas when developing STEM innovation .
This support will help girls overcome perceived gender roles barriers .”She said APWEN organize train the trainer workshop for sixty female engineers from all chapters facilitated by United Kingdom partner University of West of Scotland in collaboration with Institute of Engineering and Technology .”