SLWE Partners with JOEF to Promote Engineering in Rural Sierra Leone

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 Sierra Leone Women Engineers (SLWE) partnered with the James Ogunbor Education Foundation (JOEF). The theme of the workshop was: “Using Information Technology Tools as a Platform for Communicating Engineering Projects – Empowering Rural Girls in Sierra Leone”.

Founder and President of JOEF, Ing Florence Ogunbor, 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 revealed how her Foundation had hosted other similar workshops mostly in East Africa highlighting that Sierra Leone is the first country in West Africa to be selected for the workshop.

According to her, 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.

“We want to bring out to their knowledge that they can do more in that field as we are using this platform to organize simple engineering activities that they can lay hands on before they become interested in the profession.”

Ing. Louise Chaytor, President and Co-founder of SLWE, on her part said that their organization has as its strategic objectives to mentor girls into engineering and to introduce engineering as a developmental tool to young girls in rural communities adding that SLWE was therefore pleased to partner with JOEF on the venture.

During a preceding event held on the 27th September 2023 at The View Restaurant, Ing. Prof. Jonas Redwood Sawyerr, President of the West African Federation of Engineering Organizations (WAFEO) talked 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 mentioned the establishment of the ECOWAS Engineer status, with the title Eco. Ing and the ECOWAS credit transfer scheme which 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 Southern Africa.

Ing. Prof. Jonas Redwood Sawyerr noted that technology has made the world smaller.
Speaking at the event, Ing Trudy Morgan, President of SLIE and Co-Founder of SLWE, stated 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 its 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. 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, Louise Chaytor and Bushra Kamara assisted and encouraged them to focus on the engineering profession.

The Principal of the school, Father Augustine was very grateful that the two-day workshop was held at the school and that the pupils benefited from it. He called for the creation of a science club in the school.


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