Afroscientric was started because of the realization that there is a huge gap in young African women getting into the science field. When women do manage to get in, progression in the industry or in academia is very difficult. There are so many factors that contribute to this ranging from societal expectations of women to lack of opportunities (e.g. work experience, scholarships, research grants). At Afroscientric, we aim to bridge this gap starting from secondary school up to university level. Girls in secondary school usually do well in maths and sciences, but a lot don’t see themselves being scientists because they think it’s a male dominated profession and so should only be for men. The lack of role models for these young girls contributes hugely to this problem. Our website shows women all over Africa succeeding in science both at home and abroad. This website is meant to inspire girls by sharing information they need to stay inspired and work hard towards success. Our outreach programme also achieves this. Young women in universities go out to secondary schools to inspire girls by teaching them skills, mentoring them and helping them with any issues they may have with science and maths. This is generally run by our Afroscientric volunteers. At university level, women have similar problems. After graduation, a lot go on to do other jobs unrelated to their degrees. At Afroscientric, we have created a one on one mentorship programme and an internship programme to solve this problem.
The mentorship programme links a university student to a mentor on our network. All our mentors are postgraduates, professionals working in the science and engineering sector, and young people who have started their own businesses in the science and engineering sector. All mentors are Africans who have gone to top universities in the world from Oxford University in the UK to Harvard in the US. The reason is this, we want our students to get the best mentoring possible as excellence is what we aim to achieve.
The internship programme is the second programme aimed at university students. This programme aims to foster innovation and/or give students firsthand experience working in the science field they are interested in. which in turn increases their chances of getting employment after graduation. We have partners home and abroad who will love to take students on board for a minimum of 1 to 3 months. At the moment, we are working to partner with science and engineering companies like GSK and Unilever. All students interested in the mentorship programme or the internship programme would have to go through an application process. This is important for us because we need to attract willing and passionate students and pair them with the right mentor and the right internship.
It is our goal to pass on unique skills and knowledge to the next generation of young African women. I hope you are willing to work with our organisation either as a mentor, a partner or a sponsor, please contact us. Let’s join hands in developing the next generation of African leaders in science, engineering and technology.