By Guest writer
Sierra Leone Women Engineers (SLWE) partnered with the James Ogunbor Education Foundation (JOEF) to encourage 150 girls in Lungi to undertake engineering as a career in a two day workshop hosted at the St Augustine Agricultural Senior Secondary School in Lungi, Port Loko District on 28th and 29th September.
The theme of the workshop was Using Information Technology tools as a platform for Communicating Engineering Projects – Empowering Rural Girls in Sierra Leone. The Founder and President of JOEF, Engr. Florence Ogunbor said that her foundation had hosted other similar workshops mostly in East Africa and Sierra Leone was the first country in West Africa to be selected for the workshop. Engr. Florence is an industrial and production engineer, who currently works as a Project Lead of the African Agricultural Knowledge Transfer Partnership Project by Innovate UK in Nigeria.
She said that the purpose of the 2 day workshop was to engage rural girls on various engineering disciplines and allow them to use their creativity to depict engineering projects using ICT to present them.
Ing. Louise Chaytor, President and co-founder of SLWE said that their organization, a Special Interest Group of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers has as it’s strategic objectives to mentor girls into engineering and to introduce engineering as a developmental tool to young girls in rural communities. SLWE was therefore pleased to partner with JOEF on this venture.
At an event to host the visiting team, held on 27th September 2023 at The View Restaurant, Ing. Prof. Jonas Redwood Sawyerr, President of the West African Federation of Engineering Organizations (WAFEO) said that the theme was timely because technology has made the world smaller. He shared about the creation and benefits of WAFEO and its goal to facilitate mobility for engineering students and professionals through a process of harmonisation of standards including accreditation and professional training. He shared about the establishment of the ECOWAS Engineer status, with the title Eco.Ing and the ECOWAS credit transfer scheme. This scheme will enable engineers with those credentials to work or study anywhere in the ECOWAS region..The same scheme is expected to be replicated in North, East and South Africa.
Speaking at the event, Ing. Trudy Morgan, President of SLIE and co-founder of SLWE, said that the workshop was all about empowering girls in rural Sierra Leone using information technology tools to convey engineering projects. She said that SLWE has always had plans to extend it’s activities beyond Freetown and the partnership provided the opportunity to begin to do so.
One hundred and fifty girls were led to do projects such as building paper towers, constructing an electrical fan, and using photography to record videos of their engineering projects. Through the help of the lead facilitators, Engr. Florence Ogunbor and her teammate, Ms. Onome Agbi pupils were assisted in using IT tools to download, edit and present their engineering projects on laptops. During the course of the two day workshop, a team of SLWE Women Ambassadors, Ings. Magdalene Peters, Nadia Assad, Vanessa Macfoy, Rebecca Pratt, Sarah Campbell, Titoh Sowa, Isha Sankoh, Louise Chaytor and Bushra Kamara assisted and encouraged them in the engineering profession.
The Principal of the school, Father Augustine was very grateful that the pupils benefited from the two day workshop that was held at the school. He called for the creation of a science club in the school.