InterswitchSPAK competition gives secondary schools in the 47 counties a chance to nominate their best six Form 3 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students for the competition.

Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), an international non-profit, citizen-sector organisation, has in partnership with Mastercard launched Girls4Tech Programme that focuses on increasing the number of Kenyan  girls and women in technology.

Latest statistics indicate that 80% of jobs to be created in the next decade will require some combination of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills. However, only 30% of the science and technology workforce in Kenya is currently comprised of women with only 6% of women engineers.

Speaking at the launch, YTF President and CEO, Njideka Harry noted that, ‘It is crucial we tap into the creativity, energy and potential of girls and young women if our nation intends to meet the needs of our economic future.  Today, more girls and women are using technology than ever before, but relatively few are playing a role in creating this technology or pursuing studies in STEM.  Through Girls4Tech our goal is to inspire them to become leaders of tomorrow and learn about potential STEM careers available to them.’

The programme will provide women with an equal playing field going forward and motivation to pursue STEM subjects.

Girls4Tech is a hands-on, inquiry-based program that demonstrates to students that it takes all kinds of interests and skills to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  So far, more than 100 Girls4Tech events have been organized across several regions. Mastercard partners with Youth for Technology Foundation to implement the programme in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya.

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Research from the World Economic Forum has shown that while many traditional occupations may be disrupted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is expected to create a host of new jobs in fields such as STEM, data analysis and computer science. This means far more opportunities for Kenyans to develop home-grown solutions to the countries and the continent’s problems.

African university graduates with a STEM degree represent only 2% of the continent’s total university-age population but are increasingly needed across a wide variety of industries. As in more advanced economies, special attention should also be given to encouraging female STEM talent, as only an incredibly small percentage of students pursuing degrees in science and technology subjects in Africa are women.

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