Home COVID-19 A call for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in STEM.

A call for Adolescent Girls and Young Women in STEM.

by Maurine Tukahirwa

“Adolescent Girls and Young Women living in rural areas got 99 issues; science & technology ain’t part of them.” A common statement lately especially since the total internet blackout that happened in the elections period (13th-17th Jan 2021) which was followed by restricted access and usage of the internet, specifically social media. When we say issues we mean teenage pregnancies, child marriages, maternal Health, HIV infections and transmissions, ignorance, domestic violence, rape and defilement, stigma and discrimination, we mean all those issues that happen to every Adolescent Girl and Young Woman regardless of their geographical location yet, somehow always defined by those from rural areas.

As we call upon Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics_ STEM, efforts to interest Adolescent Girls and Young Women in rural areas should be the focus of discussion, women in Uganda take up 52% of the entire population that comprises 80% of Uganda’s school-age children living in rural areas with massive gaps in access to technology. Here is an opportunity to first of all demystify all those kind of myths about girls from rural, “far to reach” areas but also ensure equal opportunities for every young girl out there.

https://forms.gle/cSVHdGvvcjP1X3Dk6 Use the link to complete the call Application.

Virtual Education and learning, digital socialisation were some of the interventions and recommendations that were given to the public in response to COVID-19 shutdown of schools, counting households that could afford equipment/gadgets to make it to virtual class, I could say 1 out of 10 households in the urban and peri-urban communities. Now for the issue of rural school going children, apparently they are on their own waiting for the final national curriculum settings to compete with the rest of them. If disseminating Education materials to rural schools is still a challenge and it couldn’t get any better.

As a country with a common agenda; attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, having Adolescents living with HIV in rural areas who have totally abandoned adherence and face drug resistance in belief that without Education while living with HIV is a life sentence, should be evident enough that promoting access to quality and equitable Education is key to ending AIDS by 2030, a statement made by Nawanyaga Kisakye Gloria, Miss Uganda rising woman 2019.

Such discussions take us further to fetching all the political commitments made on behalf of local government for example attaining rural electrification in regions that have such interventions embedded in their 2021 year work plans because the truth remains, it becomes a bit tricky campaigning for interventions that have no strategic development plans. Let’s start by having our governments fulfil their commitments so that the civil society being an aide to the realization government plans and programs maps out points to intervene.

We’ve realised how digitalization had been so significant in adapting to the new normal, the COVID-19 way of living. Extending virtual Education to far to reach areas through supplying radios to each homestead seemed a better idea that has never been implemented or reported scaled up, yet very vital in promoting the 3 Hs Mind education module i.e. Educating the Head, Educating the Hands and Educating the Heart.

You may also like