Life, they say, is a series of constructions, and there is no good innovation without human impact. It takes a certain level of courage to dare to be different and thrive in the STEM industry. Award-winning social innovator Amanda Obidike is one of the women pushing the boundaries of STEM globally. The technologist and scientist is the founding curator of WEF Global Shapers, Ozubulu Hub and executive director of STEMi Makers Africa. His role in this position is to provide leadership, strategy management and oversee the design and implementation of sustainable community and STEM education projects in 19 sub-Saharan countries preparing the next generation of Africans with skills in STEM for the African workforce. In addition to STEM, it addresses thematic topics on social innovation, data science, youth development, entrepreneurship and socio-economic policies. In 2020, Amanda received several awards, including the Global Award for Achievement by TechWomen 100 and 30 Under 30 Inspiring Leaders of Africa. She had the opportunity to be trained by IBM in Business Intelligence / Analytics after 8 months. In the end, she took the initiative to serve as a knowledge pool to prepare Africans for 21st century skills and future-oriented options for an emerging workforce. It was his inspiration, his driving force to start STEMi Makers Africa. She is a mentor to the New York Academy of Sciences, the Cherie Blair Foundation, to the Million Women in Tech, Global Thinkers for Women, where she lends her voice, her knowledge and serves as a role model for girls in Africa. She is currently a member of the leadership team of the 500 Women Scientists, USA and the Board of Directors of the MAI Foundation. She shares her inspiring story exclusively with Esther Ijewere in this interview.
I never had any training in technology and engineering; I have always dreamed of one day leading the foreign exchange operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria. Growing up, I was a curious, adventurous and daring girl. I went to different high schools spanning three different geopolitical areas in Nigeria, devoted myself to community volunteering, traveling and learning about business.
Inspiration behind STEMi Makers Africa
STEMi Makers Africa emerged when I suffered from underemployment and depression in 2O18. The interesting and lucrative jobs available required technical skills that I did not originally have after graduation. Nigeria has also started to transfer significant resources and employment opportunities to skilled professionals and expatriates due to a lack of competent and domestic STEM workforce. STEMi Makers Africa was founded to address the issue of unemployment and break down the wall of fragmented and disconnected educational institutions that are legacy in Africa.
If current trends continue, by 2050 around a third of a billion young Africans will lack basic math, reading and STEM skills. Millions of people will be unemployable and unproductive. To stay competitive in a growing global economy where 96% of jobs are now automated, we elevate African talents and achievements in STEM subjects, and the skills of the future by empowering educators, marginalized communities and students to ” be self-reliant or make an efficient transition. from education to employment.
Impact and testimonials since the creation
STEMi Makers Africa is a non-profit organization that trains diverse African talents with lucrative STEM resources and skills and has currently designed a national innovation base that supports key sectors of the economy including agriculture, l energy, health, information and communication technologies, manufacturing and artificial intelligence.
We have maintained one of the best strategies to help over 78 communities in 19 African countries and over 30,000 young people develop professional skills, improve academic achievement, provide opportunities for success and we plan not to let the younger generation feel displaced and inherit a more fragmented world than the one we live in today.
Through our innovative approach to education and capacity building, we won the 2021 Stroeous Award for Global Positive Impact on Innovative Solution, we became a Falling Walls Berlin Engage finalist for Breakthrough of the Year in the Digital Education category, 2020.
Just recently, one of our educators who received our first STEM integration training for educators was accepted for a renewable 4 year US Teacher Exchange Fellowship. We registered 51 internship and job positions for our only Kuongoza project mentee program for 2O21.
Travel so far
The trip was rocky, but enormous. There are times when we worry about resources, partnerships, effective management of operations in other African countries, but we continue to push and leave an indelible mark that may one day inspire esteemed organizations to collaborate with. we.
Awards and recognition
I received the Global Award for Achievement from TechWomen 100, in recognition of paving the way for future generations of tech talent, shaping the future of the tech industry, and having the responsibility as a role model to share my experiences, to lay the groundwork for others to follow in the wake of technology. My driving force as an underemployed and depressed African woman is to create an ‘Africa By Us, For Us’ ecosystem that prepares diverse young talent with future-oriented options in lucrative STEM pathways to become more experienced for life. African workforce.
As a social innovator, I build skills, empower the next generation of technologists, engineers and innovators by training educators with new research-based pedagogy, practical resource tools to ensure their students are allowed to solve ill-defined problems, make real-world connections, while deepening their content knowledge and preparing them for STEM careers.
Kuongoza Mentorship Program
Our Kuongoza Project Mentorship Program has made significant progress and has helped over 195O women aged 15-35 to access new markets, work flexibly and integrate those acquired skills necessary for the workplace – after being framed.
Second, STEM integration for educators as an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Consulate General to cultivate a STEM workforce, streamline STEM education, and refine educator pedagogy where students are allowed to. solve ill-defined problems, make connections in the real world while deepening knowledge of content. and prepare them for STEM careers. We have further instilled these educator projects in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Cameroon.
Representation of women and girls in STEM
Women make up half of Nigeria’s university-educated workforce, but only 11 percent of the tech and engineering workforce are women. Research shows that girls begin to doubt their STEM intelligence at age six and continue to lose self-confidence as classes become less gender balanced and more intimidating.
Whatever the cause, it’s clear that parents, educators, allies and we as a community need to work together to show girls that no topic is off limits just because of their gender. Women and girls remain underrepresented in STEM and that is why we combine appropriate preparation in colleges, high schools and universities, provide practical resources and opportunities, and provide young girls in Africa with role models. women and STEM experts.
Other projects and activities
Mentorship Support: – Since 2016, I have been a mentor at the New York Academy of Sciences, Cherie Blair Foundation, Global Thinkers Forum, where I provide mentees with invaluable academic, business and life skills support to blossom.
Politics: Addressing political concerns that revolve around governance and public administration, I am Deputy Director of Public Relations at the Nigerian World Affairs Council.
Child Development and Construction: – I offer psychosocial development support and community management within the Royalty Children’s Network.
Gender issues: – I offer pro bono technological services to women entrepreneurs, to help them incubate, innovate and commercialize their ideas, and I am also part of the 500 women scientists team.
Three women who inspire me and why
Tobiloba Ajayi is transforming the face of cerebral palsy in Africa through advocacy, counseling, capacity building, guidance services and training of educators. I’m inspired by the work she does in Let the CP Kids Learn, a foundation she founded out of a desire to change the prevalent discourse about the intellectual abilities of children with cerebral palsy.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala shows us that it is possible to dream, and to surpass oneself. She became the first African woman to be Director General of the WTO in March 2021
Melania Trump continues to be a strong advocate for children and dedicates her time and effort to helping young people overcome the many challenges they face in an ever-changing society. In 2018, she announced BE BEST, an awareness campaign that strives to promote a world for children based on healthy lifestyles, kindness and respect.
Nuggets on How to Succeed in STEM as a Woman
* Be fearless. Be free to dream. Be free to collaborate. Be free to ask questions. Be free to excel and be free to succeed.
* There may be some obstacles in the journey, but please stay focused. STEM is a wonderful decision that anyone can make. Don’t hesitate to reach out to peers you admire or STEM professionals who might share their stories, tips and advice that can help you out in the field.
* Obtain a mentor and an advisor.
* Volunteer with community-led organizations that lead STEM education.
* We need more women in STEM fields. The ILO has said that women are 30% more likely than men to lose their jobs due to automation and poor STEM skills.
* We can do a lot in this area to improve our livelihoods, our economy, and improve the retention of young women in STEM careers.
To be a woman of rubies
Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous and able woman? It is more precious than rubies. A ruby woman is full of wisdom and strength. She is a tenacious and kind facilitator, teacher, friend, community mobilizer. Yes, I am a ruby woman.