Debswana, as part of the partnership between De Beers Group and WomEng, has implemented a series of workshops to progress a three-year Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) and Girl/Women in Engineering programme. The programme is focused on encouraging more women to study STEM subjects, thereby providing them with a wider range of career opportunities and enabling the creation of a diverse engineering workforce to meet the current and future employment needs of the sector and economy at large.
As part of the programme, Debswana has kick-started a series of sessions designed to create awareness of the importance of STEM subjects and provide students with practical tools and routes to access engineering and technology careers. The first of these sessions was held in Jwaneng on 3rd September 2019 with 200 female students from four Junior Secondary Schools in and around Jwaneng Mine.
The students, from Morama, Kgosi Mpe, Maokane and Mogale Junior Secondary Schools were taken through various sessions, with the aim to take them on a journey into the world of engineering and technology. They were also given first-hand experiences by Jwaneng Mine women Engineers.
A second session took place in Orapa on Saturday 7th September 2019 with 200 girls from schools in the Boteti District. The girls who attended the workshop from the 23 junior and secondary schools (Makalamabedi, Motopi, Rakops, Mopipi, Ditsweletse, Makgadikgadi, Motsumi, Letlhakane, Orapa Junior Secondary Schools) expressed their confidence in pursuing higher science and maths subjects at later stages of their academic journey. They appreciated the opportunity afforded them to understand what was entailed in pursuing careers based around STEM subjects.
The events in Jwaneng and Orapa, Letlhakane & Damtshaa Mine (OLDM) will be followed by a regional GirlEng programme, where 60 students chosen from the earlier sessions are eligible for a sponsored two-day Innovation Boot Camp in Johannesburg in March 2020. Students will also be provided with support for university and scholarship applications, as well as exposure to the experience of working in the mining industry.
The first event of the partnership was a WomEng’s Fellowship Southern Africa event, held early in July in Johannesburg, attended by female engineering students in their pre-and post-graduate years of their studies from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Five high-performing Batswana female students from The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) represented Botswana at the event in South Africa, namely Charmine Oratile Thomas, Keatlaretse Moeng, Amantle Tracy Sello, Thato Kago Moeng and Opelo Tshekiso.
‘It was definitely a defining point of career as a young aspiring engineer. I have gained so much knowledge that will have a good impact in my career,” commented Amantle after the event.
De Beers has invested more than US$300,000 in the partnership with WomEng, a multi-award-winning organisation working to attract, develop and retain the pipeline of female engineering talent. Founded in South Africa in 2006, WomEng works internationally developing targeted programmes and interventions to address the severe shortage of women in engineering. Beyond the focus on increasing the numbers through their proactive and needs driven approach, WomEng programming is creating the next generation of female engineering leaders in society.
*Sejoe is Debswana Corporate Affairs Manager – External Communication