“We have been experiencing issues with reaching out to girls but with the outreach programmes that will be introduced, it is going to be easier to reach out to girls even in the rural areas.”, - Kumbirai Maravanyika, a member of the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers Women in Engineering (ZIE – WIE) chapter, highlights how the collaboration between WomEng and ZIE-WIE on the GCRF Africa Catalyst project will impact female secondary school and university engineering students in Zimbabwe.
On 30 January 2019 and 01 February 2019, Aditi Lachman and Tlhogi Swaratlhe from WomEng hosted a Leadership Development and Training Workshop with members from ZIE-WIE at the Management Training Bureau in Harare, Zimbabwe. This two-day workshop was conducted as part of the GCRF Africa Catalyst project, funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The aim of this workshop was to prepare teams to plan and run pilot GirlEng and Fellowship programmes in Zimbabwe in 2019. The GirlEng and Fellowship programmes target secondary school girls and female engineering students, respectively. The objective of these outreach programmes is to increase the number and leadership quality of female engineering students. Discussions at the workshop centred around the current challenges and successes ZIE-WIE has in attracting and developing female engineers, knowledge- sharing on how to plan and implement programmes and a masterclass on personal and team leadership. The key deliverable from this workshop is the development of an outreach plan.
The ZIE-WIE members are enthusiastic to be collaborating with WomEng on this important project. Maravanyika further adds that this project will not only be beneficial to the young girls that will be participating, but to her personal development as well. Maravanyika added, “This project is going to help me develop myself because now I have learned of more avenues that I can explore. I will also be able to network with quite a number of people from different organizations, who will help me develop my career”.
Shelta Majowa, also a member of ZIE-WIE, shared her excitement of joining a global network: “I am excited to be joining this project as we are now joining the global team in engineering, and I think this will be inspiring to young girls as they will see themselves as being part of a bigger group”.
WomEng is looking forward to working together with ZIE-WIE chapter in creating the next generation of engineers and crafting the narrative of a diverse and inclusive engineering profession across Africa.