Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, has urged girls involved in the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to avail themselves of regular internships and identify professional role models in order to gain maximum value from their education and attain career success.
According to her, the study of STEM without hands-on experience such as internships is meaningless. She averred that regular practice as well as appropriate guidance and mentorship are prerequisites for successful STEM careers.
“While learning STEM, try to connect the classroom to the practical world in order to place your learnings into a real-world context. Personally, by being curious and taking a keen interest in internships, I learnt a lot while in school,” she said.
Madam Patricia Obo-Nai made this assertion at the mentorship programme organised by Vodafone Ghana and the Vodafone Ghana Foundation for women and girls in Tech and ICT from selected schools in Accra.
The programme also formed part of the Vodafone Ghana Foundation’s monthly ‘Birthday Stars’ project, which seeks to execute monthly CSR projects tied to employees’ birthday celebrations. The choice of Birthday Stars activity is also designed to coincide with international days that mark specific United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals within each month. Consequently, the event for February 2021 focused on celebrating the ‘International Day of Women and Girls in Science’.
During her pep-talk with event participants, the CEO of Vodafone added that it is important for STEM students to shadow role models.
“For you to thrive in the area of STEM, there is a need for you to follow and observe a professional who works in your field of interest. It is one of the ways you can also gain more knowledge on what is required of you on your career path. So, as you use your time to glean insights into careers you may be interested in pursuing, I also encourage that you find a role model whose experiences and mistakes you can learn from.”
Patricia also reiterated that Vodafone Ghana will continue to be at the forefront of empowering women in STEM. “At Vodafone Ghana, we are deliberate about creating space for women to participate in STEM programmes with a view toward changing the usual narrative and dynamics. We always try to bring in women from various universities to do internships and join our engineering team to learn.”
Vodafone Ghana Foundation Lead, Amaris Perbi, buttressed Patricia’s assertion by enumerating a number of STEM-related women empowerment initiatives that the Foundation is currently championing, including the annual STEM Girls Camp and Female Engineering Student Sponsorship Programme (FESSP). He reiterated that these interventions among others will enable women to have equal access to STEM programmes and further advance the cause of gender equality.
The programme hosted women and girls in Tech and ICT from Accra Technical University, Koforidua Technical School, GIMPA, University of Ghana, UPSA, St. John’s Grammar School, and Lancaster University. Aside from interacting with the CEO of Vodafone and other successful women in STEM, participants also received specialised training in Coding, Robotics and Web Development.