The FGM to STEM Council is an initiative of Brands & Beyond Ltd as conveners of the East Africa Community of Women in Energy Awards and Conference and AMREF Health Africa. Women in Energy Conference and Awards is the largest gathering of women and stakeholders in the energy sector seeking to narrow the gender gaps and open opportunities across the energy value chain. In addition, our winners have gone as far as receiving several international awards.
The initiative seeks to rescue girls from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early marriages and teenage pregnancies as part of H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to end FGM by 2022 – declared during the Women Deliver Conference earlier this year.
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Considering that most energy projects are in FGM prone areas, we as Brands and Beyond Ltd. are mobilizing energy sector players and partners to help address the issue of FGM in Kenya and the world at large. In doing so, we can empower more girls to unleash their potential by embracing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Why we are keen on FGM to STEM?
Gender mainstreaming in the energy space still lags with STEM being mainly an urban affair. The pipeline of girls joining the energy sector is growing at an alarmingly slow rate and has seen businesses struggling to achieve the mandatory 30% quorum of women in the sector and local content – more especially since Kenya’s Vision 2030 is about developing STEM capabilities to drive industrialization.
The stigma toward early marriages, FGM, work-related activities such as fetching water and cooking (with dirty energy), is taking a toll on these girls. When girls undergo FGM, they most likely do not resume schooling. Those that return to school, more than 60% fail to attain the pass mark. This is why introducing STEM is a great motivator for these girls. It gives them something to look forward to as it develops the skills they need to thrive in the modern world. Such skills include, but are not limited to; critical thinking, spatial skills (generally these girls tend to have underdeveloped spatial skills), creativity, innovativeness, and problem-solving.
As a nation, STEM education provides us with the manpower we need to take our country forward in terms of innovation scientifically, technologically, not to mention intellectually. STEM changes the girls’ outlook on life by opening their minds to the limitless possibilities that are available to them which they did not know existed.
Our current partners include all energy sector players in government led by the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Petroleum and Mining,(their implementing agencies), County First Ladies Association, and AMREF Health Africa as our implementation partner.
Who are the FGM to STEM council?
Every campaign needs a council to spearhead operations. Intrinsically, the FGM to STEM Council is carefully selected members of society with a passion and purpose to bring change to young girls across the East African community through implementation of STEM initiatives and other life skill models.
What roles will council members play?
- The FGM to STEM council will provide the necessary leadership toward the establishment of excellence centers in partnership with AMREF Health Africa and other players. This could be facilitated by sharing their experiences through mentorship (for both boys and girls in the region) as they attend the Alternative Rites of Passage (ARP) ceremonies across the country at least once a year.
- Council members have the mandate to dedicate their time toward exposing the girls to best practices in life via mentorship or job shadowing opportunities carried out through visits to the girls’ schools or other modes of communication with them.
- Members of the council will facilitate resource mobilization through their networks and financial contributions.
- Members of the council will provide a firm networking opportunity for like-minded people to meet and exchange ideas globally and will assist to expand your brand profile.
Additional roles the council members will play (for those who wish) include attending the Candle Lit Night Out and certification ceremonies of the girls at the various schools where the programme will be hosted. Members of the council are as well welcome to facilitate lessons during the ARP week.
Measures of success for the council
- The number of girls reached and interaction while measuring the impact of the activities.
- The resource mobilization opportunities availed and how much resources raised and utilized
- The center of excellence initiative.
- Capacity building and mentorship along the energy value chain to all who will need it which will include and not limited to career advice, life skills, entrepreneurship, innovations, invited talks etc.
- Networking on the global level with other like-minded organization and individuals in driving gender mainstreaming in the energy space.
- You will be an ambassador for the movement and your image and will be used to inspire more members to join and raise awareness.
Below are a few sites you can refer to for further insight on the campaign:
- Amref Health Africa Stop The Cut campaign – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSa9IhomnVk
- News item on one of Amref’s Alternative Rite of Passage ceremony – http://amref.org/news/350-girls-safely-initiated-womanhood-samburu-county/
- Interview with Amref’s end FGM ambassador – https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/meet-the-kenyan-woman-urging-village-elders-to-abandon-female-genital-mutilation-1.4903434
We invite you to join us on our quest in transitioning mindsets from FGM to STEM in FGM prone areas thus consequently transform the life of a girl, a family, a community, and a nation at large.
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