Its day 13 of black history month and today we celebrate the African Research Academies for Women (ARA-W).
The African Research Academies for Women was established in 2014 to help contribute to the lack of women in STEM in Africa. Although the STEM gender gap is a worldwide issue, the number of women in the field are even less in Africa. ARA-W seeks to encourage more women to take up research career paths by providing opportunities for female undergraduate students to engage with research during their time in university. Knowing how theoretical our educational system is, this opportunity goes a long way to influence the decision with regards to pursuing a research career.
The organisation runs summer research programs where participants get the opportunity to undertake a research project at a research institution, giving them first-hand experience of life as a researcher. This way participants are in an environment where they can be encouraged, interact with role models and be better informed.
ARA-W Ghana had its first cohort of girls in 2014 where 5 selected ladies conducted supervised research at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. The African Research Academies for women is a USA registered NGO with branches in Ghana and Nigeria at present.
We all have experiences that linger, if a young undergraduate had the opportunity to be in the midst of the country’s renowned researchers at a reputable research institution, the experience will surely be treasured.