November 23, 2017

Black History Month Day 31: You and I

WOW! Its October 31st and time for the final entry in our Black History Month series.

When we decided to set up GhScientific, our motivation was simply to contribute to the promotion of STEM in Ghana through the collective effort of fellow STEM professionals. From our initial research, it was clear the system was dis-jointed. Little clusters of organisations looking to contribute their quota to improving STEM education in the country were evolving yet finding a central hub where we could all collate our experiences and learning curves, provide support, come up with best practises, collaborate on projects and be amongst a network of like-minded individuals was lacking. This was the main foundation on which GhScientific was born.

As part of our quest to create a unified system, we set ourselves a challenge this month to discover and feature a STEM group/organisation working to influence the sector each day of black history month. Last year, the focus was on Black STEM role models around the world and although we only had a limited number of days and could not feature everyone it was an educative, enjoyable and inspirational journey. If you missed it, catch up with the series here.

This year, we had 31days and we have featured 29 groups/organisations. Online platforms such as the Ghana Society for the Promotion and Advancement of Science (GSPAS) and Global lab Ghana were excluded as the focus was on practical interaction either via hands on activities, practical education or mentorship. These groups and the others not featured in this series influence the sector in their own way through the opportunities presented, information disseminated and discussions held among the members.  Institutions were also excluded as well as health services as they deserve their own special celebratory feature which we will be executing at the appropriate time.

The journey has been insightful and one thing that is clear; today’s generation is committed to STEM and the realisation that indeed we need to invest in our young people, our education needs reform and there’s a need to promote practical education.

A recent publication in the Guardian stated that ‘Africa produces just 1.1% of global scientific knowledge – but change is coming’. I wonder what Ghana’s contribution is of that 1.1%. The message in the article was simple, research into diseases and issues affecting Africa should be conducted in Africa, with the author citing instances of malaria and Ebola. The author also described the task of developing African science and its future scientists as daunting. The concluding message as with many other articles addressing this issue of the pit in Africa’s science scene comes down to government investing in the sector. This includes Ghana. While we wait on the government to deliberate and appreciate the need for significant investment in the sector the citizenry have taken up the mantle.

As daunting as the task may be, we agree and believe change is coming and it is imperative that we (STEM professionals, groups and organisations) present a united front.

As we conclude this year’s black history month series we congratulate all STEM professionals, groups and organisations for their effort in engaging our young people and communities with science.