Women Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Inspiring Girls for Africa’s Development (WSIGAD) is a Senegal-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that aims to encourage high school girls to venture into scientific fields.
WSIGAD was founded in 2020. It is a initiative led by students and graduates of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Through training workshops, talk shows and webinars, WSIGAD members challenge African female students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). During these meetings, the students exchange information with model women scientists. They are also made aware of the various opportunities offered by studies in mathematics, computer science and technology.
The WSIGAD is financed by Ndèye Niang. Ndèye Niang is a teacher-researcher in statistics at CNAM (Paris) and also a lecturer at AIMS.
“We noticed that the little girls were very interested in this. I thought it would be nice if she could do it more regularly,” says Ndeye.
In March 2021, the WSIGAD organized a webinar on “The Impact of STEM on Africa’s Development: Issues and Challenges”.
Again, in August 2021, he hosted another webinar on “Artificial Intelligence and Robotics” where young African female scientists in the given fields shared their experience to inspire African girls.
However, the main activity of the NGO remains the organization of training workshops, a program particularly appreciated by college girls who discover STEM in a practical way. The last WSIGAD training workshop was organized in February, on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The event was celebrated in partnership with Orange Digital Center, Senegal. During this event, the girls discovered the computer tool and were introduced to coding.
In the future, the WSIGAD intends to diversify its activities. It will organize activities such as mini-competitions and Olympics to reward the winners. This is to encourage girls as well as promote interest in STEM.
The NGO also plans to organize company visits with high school girls. The intention is to help girls see how STEM is applied in daily life; how, in a fun way, math can be useful.
There is also the fun aspect. “In Africa, we have several games like Awalé, which are actually mathematics. We could put these games in the hands of young people and ask them to imagine an algorithm, explains Ndeye Niang.
The WSIGAD also aims to expand its activities to other countries, such as Cameroon, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. In the long term, the WSIGAD will expand to all African countries to reach more girls.
Information from www.africawomenexperts.com was used in this report