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Safaricom, UNESCO and Eneza partner for digital mentorship program targeting high school students

High school Students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies will have an opportunity to learn from their role models after Safaricom, UNESCO and Eneza inked a deal that will see them work with role models. The initiative entails students aspiring for the said studies working with role models to gather necessary information regarding their career choices.

In the initiative, learners will have an opportunity to engage with tutors through programs on local TV and community radio stations as well as through SMS via the short code 40291. Current times dictate that people exercise social distancing which has put strain on various activities in the country more so learners.

Speaking on the initiative, Safaricom’s CEO Peter Ndegwa, said they’re implementing lessons picked during this period by partnering with various organizations to offer meaningful solutions for customers using alternative channels. He further stated Safaricom was partnering with Eneza’s Shupavu 291 solution to give students access to mentors and information on STEM subjects via SMS.

More than 40 local radio stations and television channels are slated to air live shows that will encourage learners to send their questions through a text message to 40291. Mentors and facilitators will in turn send responses to each question as they engage the students. The initiative is expected to run for the next 11 weeks.

Wambura Kimunyu CEO of Eneza Education said they were happy to be part of the project that utilizes the organization’s existing “Ask a Teacher platform” on Shupavu 291 to adapt the mentorship solution. He further stated the initiative will keep students connected to STEM in the face of this global pandemic irrespective of their gender and socio-economic backgrounds.

UNESCO Regional Director Mrs. Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, said the project will nurture leaner’s interest in STEM through the linkage between them and the role models in the STEM profession, through online interaction and the continual access to mentorship services. Ann further stated UNESCO will cooperate with the Ministry of Education, the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) and Safaricom to provide students with information on STEM Education and life and survival skills to enable then overcome gender stereotypes about STEM careers, hence developing interest in science related subjects while learning from home.

Statistics show that only 22% of all students who are enrolled in Kenyan universities are in STEM fields despite the large number of related programmes on offer and the critical role they play in development.

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