The Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Trust and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) hosted a mentorship program for  Girls Excelling in  Mathematics and  Science (GEMS).  The 18th November 2022 registered the culmination of the  program which featured a prize-giving ceremony for the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics(STEM) projects which the girls were engaged in. The 2021/22 GEMS program  accommodated female senior secondary students from Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi Senior  Secondary  Schools,  Matsha College, Mahupu  and Tsabong Unified Secondary Schools.  These were students majoring in pure (single) science and aspiring  to go  into the STEM professions and careers.


The GEMS mentorship program seeks to promote the participation of young girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),  hence the program by provided a prospect for the  girls to flourish in STEM subjects.  The two organizations collaborated to promote gender equity in access to STEM educational opportunities.


In giving her remarks at the ceremony, the BIHL Trust Chairman, Ms. Ngwatshi Enyatseng said, “The environment that BIUST has built encourages science and mathematics, and it is wonderful to see young girls pursuing STEM in all of its manifestations. This activity is essential for teaching female students to experiment, think critically, solve problems, and persistently ask why and what comes next. This is a wonderful gesture that will encourage female students to extend their views and embrace a growth mindset. This prospective approach aims to support girls' advancement and reinforce the idea that skills can be acquired rather than remaining constant and unchangeable. As the BIHL Trust, we strongly believe that gender equity and the empowerment of women are fundamental towards working to achieve an inclusive society and sustainable economic growth.”


In concluding her remarks Enyatseng highlighted that,  the  essence of the program is to create environments that encourage girls and help them know that science careers are within their reach. As these girls excel in the STEM space, they will foster legacies from the grassroots that other young ladies will emulate. The GEMS program is one way of improving livelihoods in society using educators who are in a vantage position to assist in nurturing a growth mindset and dispel stereotypes that discourage girls from becoming scientists and mathematicians


 The program was  being  hosted against the backdrop of an  economy that is transitioning from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based one, driven by technological advancement. To register significant progress in this regard,  emphasis should be made on issues of  inclusiveness  of women in science-related careers.


The Deputy BUIST Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Professor Shemang, in his remarks emphasized that   “To boost the growth of technological innovation in the nation, the STEM culture must embrace diversity and inclusiveness, particularly of women. For research and innovation to advance, it is essential to attract and keep women in STEM fields. The importance of fostering STEM innovation and STEM-based industries in a developing country cannot be overstated. These sectors of the economy are crucial for development. Our goal at BIUST is to generate top-tier research and innovation in the fields of science, engineering, and technology that will foster a diversified knowledge-based economy and industry growth. The gender gap needs to be reduced  in order for this mission to completely realized and eventually closed.”


The BIHL/ BIUST collaboration on this initiative  was born from the firm believe that GEMS mentorship program will groom change makers,  who will in the future also successfully  and collectively tackle the task of empowering those that come after them.