120 girls to participate in the first-ever WiSci Girls STEAM Camp, hosted by the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Rwanda, Girl Up, and Meridian International Center

For Immediate Release
July 7, 2015


Microsoft, Intel, and AOL Charitable Foundation play critical role in technology-driven curriculum

Washington, D.C.: 120 girls have been selected to participate in the Women in Science (WiSci) STEAM Camp from July 25 – August 15, 2015, at the Gashora Girls Academy in Rwanda. The high school girls from across Africa and the United States will have the unique opportunity to learn valuable skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design and Math (STEAM) fields, while enjoying a rich cross-cultural experience.

This first-of-its-kind program is organized by the U.S. Department of State, Microsoft 4Afrika, Intel, AOL Charitable Foundation, the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, and the Rwanda Girls Initiative, with support from Meridian International Center, the Rwandan Ministry of Education, the African Leadership Academy, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Additional programmatic support was contributed by UNESCO, HeHe Labs, and Indego Africa.

The WiSci Camp is part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, promoted by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, to ensure adolescent girls get the education to build brighter futures and stronger communities. It is also part of LIONS@FRICA, an initiative founded by the U.S. Department of State along with Microsoft, Nokia, DEMOAFRICA, VC4Africa, the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and other partners to help entrepreneurs start and scale new businesses throughout Africa.

“The State Department is thrilled to support the WiSci Camp this summer,” said Deputy Special Representative for Global Partnerships Thomas Debass. “Through this new and exciting public-private partnership, we hope to increase opportunities for women and girls to pursue the necessary knowledge and skill sets to better take advantage of future career opportunities in STEAM-related fields and ultimately participate in the global economy.”

A strong gender imbalance exists internationally in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The WiSci Camp aims to help bridge that gap through access to education, mentorship opportunities and leadership training.


The STEAM curriculum will be developed in partnership with science and technology industry leaders Microsoft, Intel and AOL Inc. Girls will have access to mentors from these participating partners, engage in leadership development and skills-based workshops organized by Girl Up, and take field trips within Rwanda.

The specially-curated program will feature hands-on experiential learning and a wide array of opportunities in the STEAM fields for the participants. The formal curriculum will be led by Microsoft and Intel employees and will include a week each on Computer Science, Robotics and Design, Art & Culture, with time during the third week to work on small group projects. The girls will hear from inspiring guest speakers and mentors, while participating in sessions on design-thinking, marketing, writing, online advocacy and leadership development curated and facilitated by Girl Up. The AOL Charitable Foundation provided a grant to fund the camp, and will work with AOL Inc. to enhance the program’s curriculum with expertise in digital marketing and blogging and involve AOL employees for further mentorship and volunteer opportunities.


The WiSci Camp will bring together 120 talented girls from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States. The girls were selected among a competitive pool of applicants from the networks of Girl Up and the African Leadership Academy, and were chosen for their demonstrated interest in the STEAM fields and record of leadership in their community. The participants will be able to share their experience to inspire other girls in their community upon return to their high schools in the fall.

About WiSci Partners and Supporters

The U.S. Department of State’s mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.

Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, supports the empowerment of girls everywhere. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has funded UN programs that promote the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and built a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates. Its youth leaders, representing more than 800 Girl Up clubs in 66 countries, stand up, speak up, and rise up to support the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl.

Intel is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. As a leader in corporate responsibility and sustainability, Intel also manufactures the world’s first commercially available “conflict-free” microprocessors.

Microsoft 4Afrika initiative was launched in Feb 2013 to help accelerate Africa’s economic development and to improve its global competitiveness. It is a long-term commitment to help empower African youth, entrepreneurs, developers, and business and civic leaders to turn great ideas into a reality that can help their community, their country, the continent and beyond. Initiative is built on the dual beliefs that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world. The initiative is built on three key enablers critical to the success of that mission: innovation, world-class skills and affordable access.

AOL Charitable Foundation is focused on improving the lives of women, girls and underserved youth through fostering leadership and empowerment, improving economic opportunity, access to education and technology, and cultivating creativity.

Rwanda Girls Initiative is an international NGO that established and supports Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology. Their vision is to advance both social justice and economic development in Rwanda by encouraging and supporting girls to achieve their highest potential. The program, implemented by our devoted African and international staff, combines superb preparation for the National Examinations with co-curricular leadership, clubs and sports programs that complete our "whole girl" education. GGAST graduates move on as confident, empowered young women committed to furthering their education in order to contribute to the development of Rwanda.

Rwandan Ministry of Education has a mission to transform the Rwandan citizen into skilled human capital for socio-economic development of the country by ensuring equitable access to quality education focusing on combating illiteracy, promotion of science and technology, critical thinking and positive values.

African Leadership Academy seeks to enable lasting peace and prosperity in Africa by developing a powerful network of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders who will work together to achieve extraordinary impact. Each year, ALA recruits and selects the most promising young leaders from all 54 African nations for a pre-university program in South Africa with a focus on leadership, entrepreneurship and African Studies. ALA’s leadership development formula is simple: ALA believes that by identifying young leaders with immense potential, enabling them to practice leadership, and connecting them with transformative opportunities, it can develop and empower the next generation of African leaders.

Global Entrepreneurship Network is a platform of programs and initiatives creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem—active in 160 countries unleashing ideas, driving economic growth and expanding human welfare.

Meridian International Center is a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Building on more than 55 years of experience, Meridian prepares U.S. and international leaders to meet global challenges and opportunities. Meridian’s suite of programs delivers the approach and environment for leaders to understand global issues and cultures, exchange ideas, collaborate on solutions, and build valuable relationships.

Further Information

More details and background on the WiSci Camp are available at www.africa.co/wisci/.
Please contact wiscicamp@africa.co with any questions and follow #wisci2015 for social media coverage.

Additional stories from the WiSci camp will be shared on Huffington Post at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/women-in-science-wisci-girls-steam-camp/

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