Impact To Date
The pilot programme trained 7 scientists from Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Zambia and later expanded to South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia, bringing the total to 12 trained members. Since the programme’s launch in March 2019, the ASOP team of scientists have delivered the workshop to over 650 school students across Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.
The team in Kenya which consists of women scientists from the University of Nairobi, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, and National Museums of Kenya among others have trained an additional 20 female and 5 male facilitators across universities, research, and governmental and non-governmental institutions. To date 8 schools, 487 pupils (including 435 girls) and 40 teachers have been engaged and mentored through the interactive laboratory and discussions in Kenya.
From the 507 African student responses received to date, 100% agreed that women can be scientists, 97.2% stated that the workshop taught them that vaccines are used to protect animals and humans and that after the workshop 90% of the girls would consider a career in science as something that is possible for them and that they want to be women scientists in future. They have found the advice and career guidance from the women scientists to be very informative and valuable in helping them strengthen scientific skills and knowledge, values as well as make informed career choices.
There is also evidence of the wider impact of the programme by the increase in science clubs being established, and the outreach teams being notified of girls applying to study science at university. Teachers from the schools visited have reported a change in attitude towards science and agricultural subjects. Lastly, as part of the outreach, trees have been donated to all the schools that have been engaged to train and cultivate in the students a culture of environmental conservation as well as nutrition supplementation.
Encouragingly, there is evidence that science performance at schools can be improved. One school, located in a pastoralist community, that the Kenyan ASOP engaged in, in 2019 has reported enhanced academic achievement. The school, located in a pastoralist community, had performance in sciences improved (from an average score of 4.0 out of 10 to a score of 6.0 in science subjects) and an increase in the number of students joining public universities tremendously increased (from 89 in 2019 to 105 in 2020) since the ASOP visit to the school. We hope that the ASOP has contributed to this improvement.