Broadening the Enthusiasm of Girls in STEM through Peer Support

Ama Pomaa Mensah Adjei, a GSTEP Ambassador

Ama Pomaa Mensah Adjei is a 13-year-old student of Immaculate Santa Maria RC JHS. She loves school, enjoys studying Mathematics, and hopes to be a Civil Engineer in the future. Ama is excited to be a Youth Ambassador under the Youth Steering Group (YSG) program as this is her first experience participating in a program in STEM and has enjoyed every aspect of it. The YSG program is an initiative under the GSTEP program, where enthusiastic young learners are selected and trained by experienced personnel in STEM to make significant changes in their communities and society at large.

As part of the program, Youth Ambassadors identify problems in their communities and propose solutions to address the problem through STEM. For Ama, the frequent power outages in her community are a source of worry for herself and her schoolmates. The outages impact their ability to study, and prepare adequately for school, among many other reasons. Ama’s solution to address the problem is to generate energy from streams and rain. With support from mentors on the program, Ama is developing her prototype to generate energy which will be pitched and presented to a panel of judges on her graduation day.

Ama is concerned about the interest of her friends, especially girls in Science and Mathematics. She recognizes that some girls express fear, especially for Mathematics. She however believes that this should not be so. According to Ama, Science and Mathematics are the most interesting subjects and rather than being difficult, they can be particularly fun. She wants other girls to have interests in these subjects and wants to do this by offering her mentoring support to finalist teams of the GSTEP Challenge.

A time with the Minister of Education

Youth Ambassadors through the Youth Steering Group undergo masterclasses to provide them with entrepreneurial and STEM skills while enabling them to make a positive impact and create opportunities for their communities. As part of these masterclasses, the ambassadors are taken through sessions to equip them to mentor their peers and other members of their community. They are taught how to effectively determine areas that require attention for their mentees and how to provide the support needed.

Increasing interest in STEM can be significantly enhanced through positive peer engagement and support. Equipping girls like Ama to be able to positively influence their peers to change their mindsets about Science and Mathematics will create significant outcomes in the pursuit to increase the participation of females in STEM. For Ama, Science and Mathematics offer her the opportunity to use creative ways to present ideas to address problems and she hopes other youth will build interest in them.

The Youth Steering Group program takes Youth Ambassadors of the GSTEP Challenge through a series of masterclasses led by international experts to help develop their skills and capacities to effect change in their communities. Each masterclass is followed by an application of a task where the ambassador applies what they learned. The masterclasses cover presentation and interview skills, entrepreneurial and STEM skills, prototype building, and rapid ideation.

The GSTEP Challenge is a challenge prize where students in Junior High School between the ages of 11 to 16 years compete in teams to develop solutions to problems in their communities through STEM. The GSTEP Challenge is implemented by a consortium of 5 organizations led by DreamOval Foundation which include; Foundervine UK, Challenge Works UK, MEST Africa, and Dext Technology. The GSTEP Challenge is funded by Fondation Botnar, a Swiss philanthropic organization that invests and advocates for the inclusion of youth voices and equitable use of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies.

<Back to News