RS aids mission to inspire young people in Botswana in a career in STEM

Posted on 24 Jul 2023 by The Manufacturer

RS, global provider of products and services including maintenance solutions and safety solutions, has supported a mission to inspire young people, particularly girls, in Botswana into a career in STEM, through its Grass Roots engineering and technology youth empowerment initiative.

FemEng in Botswana is a project team that is part of the wider FemEng Society at the University of Glasgow (UofG), a student project led by a group of eight women engineers in collaboration with the Francistown College of Technical and Vocational Education and the Digital Learning Academy, Botswana.

The FemEng group has recently returned from Botswana, where they were able to deliver STEM workshops with the help of workshop materials provided by the RS Grass Roots programme, to young people aged from nine to 18.

Working with partners in Botswana, the FemEng team has developed and delivered skill-based STEM workshops to schools there throughout June, including teaching techniques that provide an insight into a variety of engineering disciplines like mechanical, biomedical, product design, aeronautical, civil and electrical. Areas that are specific to the community in Botswana such as mining engineering were also included.

Amy Muncer, Director, Youth Community at RS, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support this worthwhile project. Projects such as this are vital to encouraging more young people into a career in STEM, and helping to reduce the gender disparity that exists currently in engineering and STEM fields.

“The group activities delivered by FemEng encouraged critical thinking combined with innovation and creativity, and the mission aligned perfectly with the aims of our Grass Roots initiative. If we are to increase awareness and understanding of engineering as a potential career path for students, we must engage them in STEM activities to give them hands-on experience of engineering and science concepts,” she added.

A similar project, ‘FemEng in Rwanda’, ran from 2016-2019, and helped to increase the number of applications to STEM courses at the University of Rwanda by more than 100% in four years. The Rwanda project also gained recognition in Scottish Parliament with some team members interviewed by national newspapers and radios.

UofG engineering student Olivia Sloan was project manager for the initiative.

She said: “The FemEng in Botswana project has honestly been the greatest experience of my life. It has given me the opportunity to work alongside some amazing women to further explore a passion I have for encouraging young people to pursue engineering, on an international scale, while helping to reduce the gender disparity in this field. I feel it has further prepared me for a career in engineering and has given me greater confidence, while the enthusiasm and curiosity from the students in Botswana has fuelled my passion for engineering.

“After being involved in the FemEng Outreach initiative in Glasgow and seeing the impact it made in schools and with young girls, I was inspired by the opportunity to lead an initiative with the same underlying objectives in a new country and culture, which is also experiencing a shortage of women in engineering. Throughout my engineering classes at university and even physics classes in school, it was clear to me that women continue to be massively underrepresented in many STEM disciplines. I want to show girls that engineering is exciting and there are endless possibilities,” the 21-year-old added.

To see how the FemEng team got on in Botswana, follow @femengbotswana on Instagram.

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