International Day of Women and Girls in STEM

Celebrated on the 11th day of February every year, Coaches United Nations Simulations (CUNS), a flagship program of Coaches of Influence Foundation (COIF) joined the United Nations and other global organizations to commemorate the international day of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) under the theme “Empowering girls in STEM for sustainable development”. 

The event was organized and presented by CUNS and hosted by St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School in the capital city of Banjul, The Gambia, West Africa. It brought together students, key leaders in the education sector, school administrators, teachers, students, private citizens, youths and other professionals to discuss relevant issues related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 

The occasion was graced by the Minister of Basic & Secondary Education – Hon. Mrs. Claudiana Ayo Cole who served as the keynote speaker.  Hon. Cole was accompanied by the Deputy Permanent Secretary – Mr. Adama Jimba Jobe who also serves as the Science & Technology Directorate at MoBSE.  Our special guest speaker and host was Hannah Kippy Coker – principal St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School. Our team of highly esteemed panelists included Dr. Ismaila Badjie – co-founder Innovarx, Gambia, Mrs. Beran Dondeh-Gillen – President, Information Technology Association of The Gambia (ITAG) and Maimuna Jabbie – co-founder, High Tech.

The keynote and special guest speakers both emphasized the significance of science and reaffirmed their commitment in improving and encouraging girls to venture into the science related fields. Hon. Minister Cole spoke on the topic: “The Role of Government in Empowering Girls in the Science Field” while Kippy Coker spoke about “Bridging the gap between boys & Girls in Science – The role of Academic Institutions”.  The panelists also addressed several pertinent topics including the gender gap and urged young people, especially girls, to be innovative and committed to joining their male counterparts who are dominant in the science field in order to bridge the gender gap.   Dr Margaret Ellis, the founder of COIF in her opening remarks highlighted the values, vision and mission of the organization, which focuses on empowering youth and women through mentorship, coaching, training and guidance needed to unleash their full potentials in-order to fully participate in the development of their communities, the nation and the world at large. 

Among the special guests were Mr. Mucktarr M.Y. Darboe – Director of Science, Technology & Innovation for the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHERST), Mrs. Fatou Bittaye & Fatou D. Bittaye both from MoBSE – curriculum, Communications Unit – MoBSE, Mrs. Jainaba Bah-Sambou – Gender consultant & private legal practitioner, Mrs. Kumba Kongira – Vice Principal, Mindow Upper & Senior Secondary School,  Nyima Jallow, VP Bakoteh Upper & Senior Secondary School, Mr. & Mrs. Muhammed & Fatoumatta Sissoho, Proprietors of Jadu’s Academy, Mrs. Mam Marie Greywood – ICT Department Head, St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Aji Dem – Math Teacher, St. Peter’s Senior Secondary School, Mariama Sanyang – Information Technology Communication Association (ITCA) University of The Gambia, student participants from various schools. 

The day ended with a colorful cultural performance presented by the students of St. Joseph’s Senior Secondary School cultural group to not only entertain the audience, but most significantly showcase the values of the different tribes in The Gambia.  The featured tribes included the Mandinka, Wolof, Aku, Serrere, Jola, Manjago and Fula.  Additionally, the Deputy Secretary General (DSG) and Secretary General (SG) of Coaches United Nations Simulation delivered their vote of thanks and closing remarks respectively.

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