Levers in Heels meets the African Science Academy for girls

Levers in Heels meets the African Science Academy for girls
3 min read

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During our recent visit to the African Science Academy (ASA) based in Ghana, our founder, Larisa Bowen-Dodoo, spoke about Levers in Heels, and its mission towards giving a voice to African women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, and serving as role models to inspire and educate more females about various STEM careers that they probably do not know exist.

Discussing STEM careers with the ASA girls (Photo Credit: Rhianna Ilube)

Women have made many strides in STEM fields, but their achievements go disregarded especially in Africa. These women are needed today more than ever to share their contributions and struggles. Their stories are key to inspiring girls into becoming the next generation of STEM leaders.

Video call mentorship session with Kenyan Levers in Heels-featured Entomologist, Dr. Esther Ngumbi (Photo Credit: Rhianna Ilube)

While role models are significant to the success of young individuals, they play a largely pivotal role in encouraging girls and women in STEM. Having very few women in STEM fields is not due to lack of talent or ability. It is caused by the unfair prejudice against women, something female role models can help quell.

Mentorship session with Ghanaian Levers in Heels-featured ROV Piliot, Ms. Samira Ali

According to Thomas Ilube, Founder and Chairman of the African Gifted Foundation – the charity which opened the African Science Academy in August 2016 to 24 students, ASA was inspired by his desire to find and nurture a generation of young African women with a passion and aptitude for science and mathematics.

“I studied applied physics at the university and went on to have a wonderful and rewarding career in the technology world. I can see the impact that science and technology can have and so I was inspired to explore how I could help drive Africa’s development by inspiring and unleashing the next generation of scientists and engineers. My mother was a teacher, in Nigeria, Uganda and the UK for many years, so I was draw to education as the route to realizing my ambitions.”

The academy seeks to identify and bring young women from all across the African continent who love science, technology, engineering and maths, into a dedicated environment where they can immerse themselves in the STEM world.

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Thomas and his team hope to grow the academy to having over 200 students a year from all corners of the continent.

“We hope that they will go on to great scientific and engineering careers, and related subjects, in Africa and make a real contribution to tackling Africa’s  challenges with their skills and special abilities. We want our students to send a message to the world that African women are more than capable of taking their place alongside anyone, anywhere in the world of science. When I am a very old man, sitting in a rocking chair under a tree with a blanket on my legs and someone comes and whispers to me that one of our ASA students went on thirty years later to win a Nobel Prize for Physics, I will be content.”

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Thomas Ilube was recently named Britain’s most influential black person on the UK Powerlist 2017 – the annual list of the 100 most powerful people of African and African Caribbean heritage in Britain.