By Fatou Dahaba
Women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematise (STEM) in The Gambia recently hosted its first annual conference on advancing The Gambia’s socioeconomic development through research and Innovation with specific emphasis on Waste Management and Climate Change, at the Sir Dawda Jawara International Conference Centre in Senegambia.
The conference facilitated stakeholder discussions, explored country-specific solutions, and raised awareness about these critical issues.
Mukhtar MY. Darboe, Deputy Permanent Secretary Technical, Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science Technology, reassured the government’s commitment to supporting research that explores sustainable waste management practices, recycling technologies, and waste energy initiatives.
“ It is heartening to witness the dedication of women in stem initiative to address these issues through their innovative work and commitment to research.
Madam Isatou Secka Jah, the Executive Director of QGroup Foundation, said their primary goal is to address societal challenges and promote positive change in education, health care, and community development.
“We are committed to individuals and communities in need, particularly youth, and women, so we are very proud to be associated with women in STEM as they embark on this journey to unleash the talents of every Gambian female in STEM.”
Cany Jobe, Director of Exploration and Production at the Gambia National Petroleum Cooperation (GNPC, ) called for reforms in the education sector.
“In my work, I do a lot of scientific work, but for once, I have never had to solve the calculus problem because there is software that does that, but I needed to learn this so I can know when it makes sense and when it does not make sense, so we need to reinvent the way we teach our kids, we have to introduce curiosity, scientifically curiosity from everyday life from an early age.”
Kodou Jeng Gaye, Founding President of Women in STEM, said the objective of women in STEM in the Gambia is to dismantle barriers and biases that have traditionally limited women’s participation and recognition in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“We therefore aim to inspire and empower women, particularly the next generation of female scientists, engineers, and innovators, and to ensure that talent and potential are not hindered by gender. In other words, talent is nothing but the natural ability or skill that an individual possesses in a specific field, which is not influenced by the individual’s gender.”
She added, “To achieve our objective, we have organized various activities such as mentorship programs, monthly webinars, scholarship opportunities, community outreach, bonding sessions, and the opening of chapters in universities and secondary schools.”
The conference also included presentations on climate change, waste management, research, and Innovation, among others, by various speakers.