Ten Nigerian women aged 18-30 years have been professionally mentored in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, STEM, in Lagos
The six-week mentorship programme was organised by TechWomen Nigeria Alumni Association with support from the U.S. Consulate General, Lagos
Paired with ten women in top positions in leading technology and STEM-related companies in Lagos, including Intel and Microsoft, the mentees shadowed their mentors and attended capacity building workshops with their peers, while they also design and execute a project with mentors in their field of interest.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the mentorship programme on Lagos Island, the US Consul-General, Ms Claire Pierangelo noted that women and girls empowerment is needed for sustainable economic development, encouraged the young women to take advantage of the network and opportunities the mentorship programme has afforded them.
“You have a community and you have access to these women in the industry to help you understand how it really works, We expect you in to be back in a few years as our alumni, continuing this programme as a Nigerian driven initiative. The U.S. government is committed to advancing the rights and participation of women and girls in the STEM fields, by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry. The TechWomen and TechGirls programs are perfect examples of this commitment.” she said
Ms Pierangelo also encouraged the young women to take advantage of other US exchange programme and to take advantage of the free resources at American corners in SouthWest Nigeria.
In a keynote speech entitled “Breaking the Bias through Mentoring” the Country Director, Intel West Africa, Ms Rita Amuchienwa, said women should take up any challenge that comes their way in the course of their careers.
She said “Do not say no to challenges, just plan and learn through it, believe that you can do it, if you have the spirit of I can do it, then, you will do it”
The Vice-President of the TechWomen Alumni Association, Nigeria, Ogo Maduewesi said the mentorship programme is a replica of the US government sponsored programme in which six Nigerian women get grants to interact with top women in technology the United States
In an opening remarks, a 2014 Fellow of the TechWomen programme, Ms Busayo Durojaiye stated that the mentorship programme is aimed at giving young Nigerian women in tech a leverage.
Some of the mentees said the programme has impacted positively on them and their career choice.
TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, aimed at strengthening participants’ professional capacity, increase mutual understanding between key professionals, and expands young women’s interest in STEM careers by exposing them to female role models.
So far, 45 Nigerian women in STEM have participated in the unique mentorship programme.