Elimisha Msichana Elimisha Jamii na Astronomia (Swahili for "Educate a Girl, Educate the entire Community with Astronomy").
10:45 - 11:00
Although ~70.4% of girls (15-19yrs) in Kenya complete primary education, few (4.5%) fully complete their secondary education because of several socio-economic issues, such as teenage pregnancies, early marriages, poverty and lack of mentorship. 86.5% live in rural Kenya with only 14.3% enrolling for secondary. Addressing this issue of gender disparity and equality in education is critically important for socio-economic growth. Elimisha Msichana Elimisha Jamii na Astronomia (EMEJA), is addressing some of these issues in rural Kenya (and now Uganda) via Astronomy outreach, mentorship, targeted STEM workshops and scholarships opportunities, guided by long-term student tracking/monitoring.
Specifically, I will show how EMEJA is using Astronomy and basic sciences to promote quality education in rural and underserved schools in Kenya and Uganda. Through the Astro-STEM Workshops & Mentorship programme, we are providing intensive astronomy themed workshops targeting Years 1&2 female (14-16 yrs) students in high school in a bid to motivate more girls into STEM courses and careers. We engage the students in a rigorous 2-day hands-on targeted STEM practicals. Astro-STEM aims to change STEM misconceptions & promote early participation of girls in sciences, improved grades in STEM, increase number of girls selecting Physics & sitting for the Physics national examination; create resources (e.g. for Physics laboratory) for these often underfunded and underdeveloped rural schools; and lastly create computer literacy (almost non-existence) in these regions.