March 1, 2024

Recap of the IDWGS24 Celebration at AIMS in Rwanda

In February, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Rwanda hosted a celebration in honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGS). The event brought together the AIMS Rwanda community made of researchers, students, staff, and lecturers.  The IDWGS celebration served as a moment to contemplate into our efforts towards advancing women and girls in science for sustainable development in Africa.               

A Journey we Take Pride in

The celebration kicked off with a warm welcome from Professor Sam. He emphasized that “Women,” “Girls,” “Science,” “Africa,” and “Sustainable Development” are terms that resonate deeply with AIMS. Professor Sam mentioned that AIMS programs are designed to be gender responsive. He further urged everyone to be proactively involved in promoting gender equity and encouraging young girls and boy to pursue STEM.

Prof. Sam Sharing an Opening Speech

Reflecting on our Efforts

We had a panel discussion of tutors, researchers, and scholars. One student, Daphine, who is currently a MasterCard Foundation Scholar at AIMS shared her Science journey. Daphine highlighted how her teacher mentored and inspired her in high school. This shows how teachers are key in inspiring young boys and girls to pursue STEM.  Through our AIMS Teacher Training Program, we have trained teachers and inspired young girls and boys in Rwanda to pursue STEM.

On her left on the stage, was Eunice, a tutor at AIMS Rwanda, who shared her experience supervising two remarkable women in their scientific projects. We also got insightful remarks from Dr. Abebe, the German Research Chair at AIMS, who insisted that we must bring science down to earth to truly impact Africa.

From our AIMS Research and Innovation Center we had the academic manager, Cecil and gender lead Dr. Vicky, who shared the institute’s achievements in gender equity, staff recruitment, student recruitment, and AIMS fellowships.

Panel Discussion Participants- from left to right, Daphine, Eunice, Dr. Abebe, Cecil, and Dr. Vicky

Group Activity: Re-affirming our Commitment

The event transitioned into a group activity—an interactive session where AIMS staff and students collaborated. The groups tackled questions such as “Strategies for encouraging women and girls in STEM”, “Benefits of diverse research teams”, and “Addressing Unconscious Bias and Fostering Inclusion” among others. The discussions later led to student presentations on the results from the topics, igniting inspiration.

An AIMS Student Moderating a Group Discussion between Students, Lecturers, and Staff

Wrapping up

As the celebration concluded, AIMS remains committed to nurturing the next generation of female scientists, ensuring that their contributions shape a sustainable and equitable future.

Let us continue to innovate, demonstrate, elevate, advance, and sustain for the benefit of all. Together, we can empower women and girls to thrive in STEM and drive positive change across Africa.

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