The Forum for African Women Educationalists – Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) launched a women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Forum on the 13th of February 2019. This launch was in line with the organisations interventions to promote the uptake and performance of girls and women in STEM subjects and careers.
FAWEZI is currently in the last year of implementing a 3-year STEM project funded by the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF), which is targeted at creating an interest and excellence in STEM by the girls from selected schools in the Epworth – Mabvuku -Tafara District. The launch of the Forum was therefore a means of sustaining this intervention by mobilising women in STEM to support and commit their time and or resources to promoting STEM for girls.
More than 50 women and men from STEM organisations and institutions gathered at the launch and made commitments to support FAWEZI STEM projects. FAWEZI is looking forward to working with these STEM role models so that the project continues to grow even after the funding has stopped.
The women in attendance committed to providing free mentorship, career guidance, site or campus visits, laboratory equipment and financial aid to the girls in the FAWEZI project areas. During the launch the girls and women also managed to share their stories on pursuing STEM careers and encouraged each other to support one another in the STEM studies so as to reduce the gender discrepancies in the field.
FAWEZI also shared the work that it has been doing in STEM since 2005. The interventions include science camps, site visits, mentorship sessions, donation of laboratory equipment, training of teachers and bursary support.
The launch of the forum was aligned to the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February) which ran under the theme: “Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”. It was attended by women and men from the STEM industry, tertiary institutions, FAWEZI alumni, high schools and the corporate world.
FAWEZI has been working in schools in Zimbabwe since 1998, and has been implementing various projects to promote girls education. Central to its work has been the promotion of the uptake and performance of girls in STEM. It is an affiliate to FAWE, a Pan-African organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. FAWE, which is represented in 35 countries in Africa, was founded in 1992, with the goal of promoting access, increasing retention and enhancing the quality of education for girls and women in Africa.