Over 270 girls have gathered at the Moi Tea Girls, Kericho for a one week (22nd -28th April 2019) mentorship session in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Drawn from 26 secondary schools located in Kericho, Nakuru, Bomet and Narok Counties, the girls are being mentored, nurtured and encouraged to pursue STEM careers besides demystifying the long held misconception that STEM careers are the preserve of men.
Now in its sixth year, this event was officially graced by Her Excellency Susan Kikwai, the Deputy Governor of Kericho County. H.E Kikwai took the opportunity to inspire the mentees by taking them through her journey from an ordinary village girl to early school life and to her studies in the United States of America (USA). She later rose to corporate leadership as a CEO of a State Corporation in Kenya before plunging into politics, both of which were male dominated and considered masculine positions. She challenged the girls to focus more on sciences as the world is looking at them as future leader – skilled and able to solve the many challenges afflicting the society.
Others who graced the opening ceremony were Dr. Moses Rugutt, the Director-General of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), the County Director of Education, Kericho County among other education officials. Present during the sessions were more than 15 eminent women mentors from the corporate world, engineers (including an aeronautical engineer from Kenya Airways), lecturers and scientists. The mentorship sessions included tips on making career choices, life and survival skills, available courses in STEM at Universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions as well as careers in STEM both now and in the future.
The students, who are considered future leaders, were taken through the development challenges local, national and global arena and how these could be addressed through STEM or Science Technology and Innovation (STI). They were also introduced to the development targets including the Big Four Agenda, Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Global Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals).
It is envisaged that the students and their more than 26 teachers will go back to their schools and make a positive influence on the rest of the students and that the outcomes from the mentorship camp will have a ripple effect on the other student and teacher communities through their shared experiences and lessons learnt.
This mentorship programme has been coordinated and supported by the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM), NACOSTI, Ministry of Education and the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa. This event comes in the wake of yet another successful mentorship camp that was held two weeks ago at The Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls in Kakamega County which brought together students and teachers from schools in Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma and Vihiga Counties.