Safaricom has partnered with UNESCO and Eneza Education to implement a digital mentorship programme for high school students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The programme involves working with role models and mentors to provide students with information on STEM subjects to enable them make informed career choices. Learners will get a chance to engage with tutors through programmes on local television and community radio stations as well as short message service (SMS).
“We are implementing lessons picked during the Covid-19 pandemic to partner with other organisations in providing meaningful solutions for our customers via alternative channels,” said Peter Ndegwa, chief executive officer, Safaricom.
Over forty radio stations and a local television channel will air the live shows during which students will be encouraged to send questions via SMS to 40291. The mentors and facilitators of the show will then send responses to each question as they engage the learners. The programme will run for the next eleven weeks.
“We are happy to be part of this project leveraging our existing Ask a Teacher platform on Shupavu 291 to adapt the mentorship solution,” said Wambura Kimunyu, CEO, Eneza Education. “We believe that this will keep students connected to STEM in the face of this global pandemic irrespective of their gender and socio-economic backgrounds,” he added.
During this period of containment, UNESCO has partnered with the Ministry of Education, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and Safaricom to provide students with information on STEM Education as well as life and survival skills to enable then overcome gender stereotypes about STEM careers. “They will hence develop interest in science related subjects while learning from home,” said Mrs. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Regional Director, UNESCO. Statistics show that only 22% of all students who are enrolled in Kenyan universities are in STEM fields despite the large number of related programmes on offer and the critical role they play in development.