Bridging the STEM Gender Gap: YAWI Empowers Girls in Nakuru

In a powerful stride towards gender equality in the realm of sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the ‘Young African Women Initiatives’ (YAWI) has launched a pioneering program aimed at enhancing girls’ performance in these critical subjects. The initiative addresses the challenges faced in teaching STEM subjects, particularly among girls, in Nakuru County’s informal settlements.

Fueled by the belief in the potential of every student, the STEM Improvement Programme, supported by YAWI, targets over 1,000 Form One and Form Two students. The goal is to revolutionize their learning experiences and outcomes in STEM fields. The initiative responds to the prevalent lack of interest among girls in pursuing “hard sciences,” often leading to subpar performance.

At the core of the program is the Ultra-Clear Portrait Camera System, a groundbreaking technological advancement. This system comprises a trio of cameras, including a remarkable 32MP Telephoto Portrait Camera with 2X optical zoom, an expansive RGBW IMX709 sensor, and unprecedented resolution for smartphones in its price range. The Reno10 series, driven by this system, empowers users to capture natural, crystal-clear portraits, aligning with the Reno series’ reputation as “The Portrait Expert.”

The Reno10 5G model, with its 64MP Ultra-Clear Main Camera and 32MP Telephoto Portrait Camera, redefines portrait photography by allowing users to effortlessly create professional-quality portraits. With a sleek, lightweight design and a remarkably thin profile, the device harmonizes performance with elegance.

The STEM Improvement Programme aims not only to transform learning but also to reshape perceptions. Negative stereotypes and social perceptions that deter girls from pursuing STEM subjects are to be challenged. Through increased sensitization, engaging role models, and effective mentorship, YAWI strives to inspire girls to embrace STEM as a potential career path.

Ms. Karen Wairimu, YAWI Programs Officer, underlined the significance of engaging girls at the secondary school level to elevate STEM subjects’ visibility as viable career options. She emphasized, “We are complementing existing STEM strategies in schools to enable students to be reflective learners, able to accrue the desired outcomes, transition through STEM subjects, and where possible transition into STEM-related careers.

The pressing gender imbalance in STEM fields is a global concern, highlighted by a recent UNESCO report that indicates only 35% of STEM students in higher education worldwide are women. Ms. Wairimu emphasized that such a disparity is alarming, especially considering that STEM careers represent the jobs of the future.

To further inspire and engage girls, YAWI launched the “100 Faces of Kenya” campaign in partnership with OPPO Kenya. This campaign aims to celebrate Kenya’s beauty, culture, and people through portrait photography. The initiative culminates in a gallery exhibition featuring portrait photos taken by the new OPPO Reno10 series, showcasing the nation’s diversity and vibrancy.

Ultimately, the YAWI program is poised to ignite a transformative journey, breaking down barriers and misconceptions that have long hindered girls’ participation in STEM. As the Reno10 series prepares for its official launch on September 5, 2023, the initiative serves as a beacon of empowerment, creating a path for young girls to unlock their full potential in the realm of sciences and beyond.


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