By Bernice Bessey
Vodafone has organised a three-day Scholar’s Camp for girls across the country at the Labone Secondary School in Accra.
The event was under the auspices of Vodafone Foundation, as part of its efforts to empower young and brilliant girls.
Vodafone Ghana, in partnership with the British Council, has ensured that more female students are enrolled into senior high schools annually, as part of its commitment to encourage women in the fields of science and technology.
300 brilliant girls, with financially challenged backgrounds, selected from over 80 senior high schools across the country, were taken through various topicss to equip and empower them in Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, Board Member, Vodafone Ghana Foundation, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the camp, which is in its second year, was focused on girls who are interested in STEM.
“For us, as a country, we don’t have a lot of women who show interest in the STEM…for us at Vodafone Foundation we believe there is the need to give them the opportunity and platform to be able to develop themselves.
“This will go a long way to help us provide the next technicians and scientists…especially females, who would make an impact on the nation.”
On the criteria for selection, Mr Ashigbey said adverts are placed for girls to apply, after which they undergo a screening process.
“The screening is done to give the opportunity to the best but needy…it’s very competitive and transparent,” he said.
“Ladies from the deprived areas are also factored in our mode of selection, so they get the opportunity, through the Vodafone Scholars Foundation.”
Mr. Samuel Gyedu-Brefo, Project Manager, British Council, said research shows that in the STEM space, there is a wider gap between the males and females.
“To bridge this gap, we decided to come up with this programme to help young girls to take up the challenge,” he said.
Mr. Gyedu-Brefo said, over the past three years, “our partnership with Vodafone Ghana on the Vodafone scholars Foundation, has led to the award scholarships to about 100 girls.
“We have had a lot of success stories from girls who don’t have to worry about their school fees, but only have to concentrate and learn.
“The scholarship does not take care of only their tuition fees, but also administration fees and textbooks, as well as exercise books.”
The three-day mentoring session for the Vodafone scholars at the senior high school levels, included renowned speakers from the British Council, Ghana Education Service, Vodafone Ghana Foundation Board members,
Vodafone employees (employee volunteering programme) and Ashesi Innovation Experience (AIX) on various topics, including financial management, critical thinking and analytical skills, confidence to initiate conversation, confidence to challenge the status quo, life in tertiary institution, personal branding, time management, and female reproductive health.