Career Girls – a non-profit organization that provides young girls with real, professional women role models and career exploration tools with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – announced today the launch of its Career Girls Mobile Learning Center (MLC) pilot program in Rwanda. The pilot is in partnership with Starlight Africa – a social enterprise in Rwanda that aims to make clean energy and STEM learning accessible to all.
“Research states girls start losing interest in STEM in middle school, but they’re more likely to stay on track with their math and science studies if they see women who look like them being successful in those fields,” said Linda Calhoun, Career Girls Founder and Executive Producer.
“STEM are the jobs of the future. Careergirls.org offers the largest database of women role model videos, but not everyone has a computer or Internet access. The Rwanda pilot has helped us build a program that is a structured, culturally-sensitive, career education curriculum for girls that uses low-cost, offline technology. We believe every girl deserves access to the tools and support she needs to succeed and change the world.”
One hundred girls ages 10-17 from two Rwandan schools – Gihogwe and Acts4Rwanda – met on weekends from May 4th – June 2nd 2019 during the pilot. Career Girls and Starlight Africa carefully co-created the curriculum, developing interactive lesson plans that presented careers in information and communications technology (ICT), health science and arts, audio/video and communications, as solutions to local and global problems like poverty, world hunger, gender equality and access to education and healthcare. The curriculum was also developed to align with the competency-based curriculum proposed for Rwanda’s educational system as part of the United Nations’ sustainable development goal 4.
“Nearly 600 million people across Africa do not have access to electricity and issues like quality education, inequality and unemployment are major problems that hinder innovation and economic growth in Africa,” said Ariane Umuringa, Starlight Africa Co-Founder. “We intentionally focused on topics and disciplines that are important for education and the workforce in Rwanda. We want girls to know they have the power to make their home, and the world a better place. This program accomplished that and more.”
The curriculum also included activities on soft skills like teamwork, overcoming obstacles, building confidence and choosing friends that help build confidence and reinforce life values. Each activity was paired with short videos featuring African role models from the Careergirls.org database of over 11,000 role model videos to ensure the content provided real life examples for young girls in Rwanda.
The materials were projected on classroom walls via World Possible’s RACHEL platform. The portable, battery-operated device brings online content offline, making Careergirls.org and other educational websites available to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.
“Career Girls is founded on the dream that every girl around the world, regardless of their background, has access to diverse and accomplished women role models that inspire them to reach for the stars professionally and in life,” added Calhoun. “The pilot in Rwanda is the next step towards making that dream come true. We look forward to directly engaging our audience with Careergirls.org content in other parts of the world.”