The Lagos Chapter, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) has trained 200 girls from 15 secondary schools on Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to mark the International Day of the Girl Child.
On Wednesday in Lagos, the students were taken through practical STEM activities, including paper circuits, how to use aluminium foil and battery to power LED bulbs.
At the interactive gathering, both normal and special girls were taught how to produce self driving cars from cardboard, and also air pressure water experiment.
Tunrayo Adetola, a deaf and dumb student, presented her project with excitement explaining with sign language, interpreted by her care giver.
Akinte Ayomide from Queens College; Olabode Taiwo from Al-Haleem College and students from other schools also took turns to explain thier projects and mind shift to study of sciences.
Dr Atinuke Owolabi, APWEN Lagos Chapter chairman, said 200 girls from 15 secondary schools were mentored in AI and robotics to get them interested in engineering for Nigeria’s development.
She said the theme of the 2023 International Day of the Girl Child, “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being,” showed the need to reflect on the progress and challenges to help girls realise thier full potential.
Owolabi said the APWEN theme for the event: “EmpowerHer STEM, Leading the Future,” was a call to action in implementing the critical role of STEM in shaping the future.
“We firmly believe that empowering girls and young women in STEM fields is not just an aspiration but an essential step in creating a more equitable, inclusive and innovative world,” she said.
She explained that it was a platform for APWEN to celebrate creativity and provide girls tools, support, and opportunities they needed to excel in STEM fields to enable them take up leadership roles in various sectors.
“We must encourage and support every girl’s right to education, equal opportunities and a safe environment where they can grow and thrive.
“We believe that the well-being and leadership of girls are not just a matter of rights; they are essential building blocks for a brighter future for all,” she said.
She thanked the STEM Education and Career Talk in school committee and sponsors for their passion and commitment to the success of the programme.
APWEN president, Mrs Elizabeth Eterigho, who joined the meeting virtually, also explained the benefits of STEM mentorship for girls.
Also, National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMechE), Dr Olufunmilade Akingbagbohu, said the engineering field was making progress but had room for more innovations, inclusivity and diversity.
She said all hands must be on deck to empower girls, encourage their interests in STEM fields and provide equal opportunities for them by removing barriers inhibiting their ambitions.
“Mechanical engineering, like any other discipline, benefits from the diverse perspectives and talents of women.
“Let us continue to work towards creating a world where every girl child has the chance to pursue her dreams without any restrictions.
“As we commemorate this day, let’s reflect on the contributions of women in our field and commit to fostering an environment where young girls can thrive. Together, we can build a brighter future for all,” she said.
Mr Femi Adedotun, Ikeja Branch Chairman of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), commended APWEN for the initiative and pledged support and donations towards sustaining the project.
Adedotun said natural inherent qualities in women must be explored for speedy national advancement, insisting that whatever a woman cannot do is something that can never be done.