About 300 girls selected from 23 senior high schools (SHS) in the Ashanti, Bono and Western North regions have been trained in the practical application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at a bootcamp in Kumasi.
The intervention is to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Learning activities at the five-day camp included career development and growth, critical thinking in design management, effective communication and pitching, introduction to scientific literature review, artificial intelligence, as well as mentorship.
These, together with the various practical STEM competitions, provided hands-on experience to students as well as a comprehensive developmental programme to prepare the girls for a competitive labour market in the STEM fields.
Speaking on why Stanbic is keen on inculcating the love of STEM into young girls and women, the Head of Brand and Marketing at Stanbic Bank, Mawuko Afadzinu, said one of the things the bank was passionate about was to trigger students’ participation in the STEM fields, especially girls, by giving them an opportunity to learn about various career paths and develop interest in the field.
He said that would be key in sparking their creativity and research skills, thus leading to job creation and poverty alleviation in the country.
“The innovations by these students can go a long way in making our planet sustainable and the social space thriving.
This is one of the partnerships that give us the opportunity to support the dreams of our younger ones and give back to the community,” Mr Afadzinu explained.
The girls were divided into teams and tasked to come up with innovative ways to use STEM knowledge to solve everyday challenges.
At the end of the programme, Group H emerged champions with their rapid analysis of aflatoxins in food project.
The other finalists developed a technique for plant dye extraction, a locally made breast cancer screening phantom, plant leaf disease detection, pest/birds detection (scarecrow sounds), breast cancer and brain tumour detection using artificial intelligence (AI).
Leader of group W, Princess Debby Bempomah Martey, from St Monica’s Girls Senior High School, shared her excitement at the presentation and thanked Stanbic Bank for the opportunity.
“I have learnt from this camp that AI holds significant value due to its increasing impact on multiple aspects of society.
The field's rapid growth offers abundant career opportunities across industries, fostering innovation and problem-solving skills,” she said.
Miss Martey said the brain tumour detection project confirmed that AI's role in automation and data analysis truly enhanced efficiency and decision-making.
The President of Women in STEM (WiSTEM) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Mbok Oduro, urged parents to give their daughters the same support they gave the boy child when it came to choosing STEM courses or careers.
She also thanked the team from Stanbic for making it possible for girls from Grade C schools to interact and learn with girls from A and B graded schools.
“We want to say a big thank you to Stanbic Bank for partnering this initiative.
Logistics needed to host over 300 girls for five days is no joke; Stanbic came on board to make sure the camp was not only successful but fun and very engaging,” Prof. Oduro said.
Stanbic Bank Ghana has partnered many academic institutions and financial technology companies (FinTechs) to deliver a number of STEM related projects which have so far given beneficiaries access to about 300 mentors and advisors across 48 disciplines and technical areas.
They also have access to structured training programmes and curriculum, internship opportunities with Stanbic Bank, and other partners, and due diligence simulations for student entrepreneurs, most of which are women.