Tshwane - Monday, 1 September 2014
As Africa’s first accredited science and technology park, The Innovation Hub, was proud to be the first industry partner to host thirty young ladies chosen to be Taungana Ambassadors as part of the week-long Taungana Expo that started on Monday, 25 August 2014. Under the theme “Decoding STEM careers in Entrepreneurship”, the Taungana Ambassadors were exposed to world-class working environments and they had the opportunity to engage with specialized professionals and young entrepreneurs from across the continent.
Taungana is a movement founded by Sandra Terarai and Nomso Kana, women who are both passionate about and thriving in their STEM careers. Their organization seeks to negate stereotypes that portray women as incapable of flourishing in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The thirty Taungana Ambassadors who have been selected are between the ages of 14 and 17 years, have achieved academic excellence and have displayed an interest in bettering their rural communities of South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Innovation Hub collaborated together with Taungana to ensure that Africa is building its own leaders in STEM who will develop innovative and sustainable solutions to alleviating poverty, providing better healthcare for a better the quality of life.
The Innovation Hub’s core business is to manage initiatives that support innovation and human capital development with a special focus on key sectors such as ICT, green and bio-sciences which are all founded on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in order to contribute to the growth of the economy, creation of decent jobs and alleviation of poverty.
Dr Chamunorwa Togo, Biosciences Specialist from The Innovation Hub hailed the Taungana Expo saying “It will help to inspire the African girl child to strive for excellence and hold a leading position in STEM.” He highlighted the natural leadership for girls to use education to contribute positively to society and challenged them to fulfil meaningful societal roles by creating innovative solutions. The Taungana Ambassadors were encouraged to start thinking about the advantages of their environment [rural areas] that are endowed with natural resources and hybridise that with indigenous knowledge to provide robust and competitive solutions to Africa and the world at large.
More advice came from associated companies located at The Innovation Hub such as Geekulcha, Jatamobile, AftaRobot and VX Pharma who exposed the Taungana Ambassadors to various careers that are driven by innovation and embedded in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Taungana Ambassadors are interested in those male-dominated fields too and initiatives such as the Taungana Expo speak to dismantling stereotypes and gender barriers which prevent young women from considering these careers.
HDI Youth marketeers played an important role in sponsoring educational material from SASOL and SAICA as well as goodie bags from Pick n Pay for the Taungana Ambassadors to ensure that their week in Johannesburg is both delicious and educational.