A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Working To Advance Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education for African Girls, on Saturday urged youths to embrace technology, saying it was tool for economic growth.
Founder of the organisation, Dr Unoma Okorafor, made the call while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the 2016 Computing, Robotics and Renewable Energy Camp” organised by the foundation in Abuja.
NAN reports that the foundation is dedicated to empowering African girls to become impactful leaders, entrepreneurs and community agents, employing science and engineering education and technology innovations.
Okoroafor said that technology must be embraced because it would be used as a tool to create jobs in the country
“The National Science Foundation came out with a statistic that four out of five jobs or 80 per cent of jobs coming out in the next decade or two will require some knowledge of science and technology.
“Technology is a tool that solves problems and opens doors for economic empowerment.
“The world will leave us behind if we are not involved in science and technology. If we live technology behind, Africa will enter the second stage of economic slavery.
“We need to get our young ones involved in technology, not only as users but as creators; so, we really need to start young.’’
She explained that the camp was aimed at exposing girls to hands-on learning and to encourage them to use technology to solve the problems facing Nigeria and African “in a fun environment’’.
“We believe that the young people are the key to our success.
We cannot just ignore them; we cannot keep telling them they have no ideas and think our nation will change.
“They have the key to some of the challenges facing Africa and Nigeria in particular.”
Okoroafor added that the camp was also to show the girls that they were as capable as their male counterparts or girls in other parts of the world in dealing in science and technology.
She pointed out the solution to challenges in the country were within, adding that the participants were encouraged to use locally-made materials for their various projects.
She explained that the organisation focused on females “because female education alongside technology innovation, were key components for economic growth and poverty alleviation’’.
Okorafor stated that government needed to intensify efforts to invest resources in female education.
“We need to also focus on educating the community, making them to know that female empowerment is not male dis-empowerment and when women are empowered, it benefits the whole community and nation.’’
Similarly, the Coordinator of the programme, Mrs Loveth Ubi, told NAN that parents should encourage their children to get involved in science and technology programmes in school.
Ubi said the one week-long camp had helped the girls, who participated, to choose career paths in science and technology.
NAN reports that the 38 participants within the ages of 13 years and 17 years were drawn from public secondary schools across Nigeria.
Some of the participants who spoke to NAN said that they had gained a lot from the summer camp.
Miss Khadija Zakariyah, a 13-year-old student of Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, said that the camp afforded her the opportunity to interact with other girls “while learning in a fun environment’’.
“This camp has made me see that there are a lot of opportunities out there. It has encouraged me to know I can chase my dream of becoming an engineer.
“My advice to young girls is to believe in themselves, chase their dreams and do not be discouraged,’’ she said.
Eunice Omotomi, another 13-year-old participant from Baptist High School, Kubwa, Abuja, said she would use the knowledge gained from the programme to achieve her dream.
“I have learnt how to make games, do animation, build bulbs, how the windmill generates electricity, mobile application, web designing and lots more.
“With what I have learnt, I can make money from it even at my young age. So, I am really happy.
“After having my degree in medicine, I will venture into other things like technology, because this camp has given me that opportunity,’’ she said. (NAN)