STEM Education for African Girls

the visiola foundation e-newsletter

Issue Q4, 2019

Students at the 2019 December STEM camp


The 2019 December STEM Camp for Teenage Girls took place in Abuja from December 14 – 21.
The theme for the camp was “A Renewable Future” and it exposed students to the various renewable energy sources and the transformation of different sources of energy into electricity.

While learning about the potential for renewable energy to address Nigeria’s electricity supply shortage, students built prototypes of wind and solar powered pulley systems, solar powered water level detectors, and solar powered smart home systems. Designing and building these prototypes gave students an in-depth understanding of the practical application of renewable energy to every day life.

Furthermore, students became more self-confident and improved their public speaking skills through the “pow-wow” sessions where they engaged in thought leadership discussions. The camp also exposed students to STEM 

professionals, including Mr Chika Obani (Pipeline Engineer at Shell) who shared his career journey and provided insights on choosing a career. Students also visited Blue Camel Energy, a renewable energy company in Abuja, where they learnt about solar powered products used by commercial and residential customers..

“This camp has been fascinating. I learnt how to build renewable energy products to provide electricity to Nigerians with little or modern electricity access” – Anjola (13)

“The presentations and daily challenges helped me become a better speaker. I am more confident now and I am sure this will help me in school.” –Sarah (14)

“I learnt how to reduce the amount of force necessary to lift heavy objects by building pulleys to assist in lifting load. I built a robot pulley system in this camp.” –Precious(14)

Baraka at the 2019 Summer Coding Boot Camp


Baraka (17), an ASCG and STEMLEG participant, and 2019 Coding Boot camp graduate gains university admission to study Human Physiology. She shares her story below.

The Visiola Foundation has been an immense contributor to my development. I found the After-School STEM Club for Girls (ASCG), the STEM Leadership and Entrepreneurship for Girls Program (STEMLEG), and the coding boot camp life changing! The sessions allowed me to ask questions and learn about science and technology in a way that I had never imagined. I attended the ASCG in the 2017 – 2018 academic year and emerged the overall best student across the 15 government secondary schools. In 2018 – 2019, I joined the STEMLEG Program and was subsequently selected to participate in the 2019 Coding boot camp where I learnt full stack Web development, Python, and Graphic Design. I was exposed to the process and workflow involved in developing software; from prototyping to hard core programming.

With what I learnt, my team and I built a web application for a micro-finance bank. The app details the activities of the financial institution, and also provides a loan accreditation system for customers. It determines whether to grant a customer a loan, and the upper financial limit accessible by approved customers. I emerged most helpful student at the coding boot camp.

I am so happy that I participated in these programs over the last three years. They have helped to shape me academically and have helped me set more ambitious goals for myself. With all I have learnt, I was able to pass the entrance exam conducted by my target university, where I have received admission to pursue a bachelor degree.


Students in our STEM Leadership and Entrepreneurship for Girls (STEMLEG) Program learnt Robotics and Mobile Application Development and were taught the basics of software design and development processes, and science concepts such as motion, gears, and force using robotics. They learnt to use sensors to measure distance and detect obstacles, detect color and measure light intensity, and measure angles and rotations. Students were also exposed to mathematical operators and variable manipulation in robotics. Furthermore, students have learnt to build mobile applications that solve societal problems including vaccination schedules, medical care for nursing mothers, and the testing and detection of malaria.

Aisha (14) discussed the significance of the technology solution her team built:

“Speeding is a major challenge and the Nigerian Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) is working hard to overcome it. I have been worried by news stories of growing numbers of road accidents in the past year. This piqued my interest in solving this problem using robotics. I envisioned self-driving cars that drive at a regulated speed, thereby avoiding speeding related accidents. They could also be used to avoid drivers who are drunk from getting behind the wheel. This will make our highways safe.”

Students at the 2019 coding boot camp

The The Visiola Foundation’s Coding Boot Camp is training 13 young women.

The The Visiola Foundation’s ongoing 2019 Q4/Q1 Coding Boot Camp is training 13 young women aged 15-25 in various computer programming languages. Students are learning full stack web development, PHP, MySQL, mobile app development, python and graphic design, as well as other programming frameworks like bootstrap, Cordova, and App.js.

The students are further exposed to the exciting field of computer science, and mentored to develop their self-confidence and public-speaking abilities. Students are given weekly challenges to test their learning and are divided into groups to learn team work and problem solving.

The aim of the boot camp is to encourage more girls to pursue technical careers by empowering them with vital knowledge to facilitate their success.

Students at the One Day Coding Boot Camp


The Visiola Foundation’s one-day Coding Boot Camp was an intensive training program designed to provide participants a foundational introduction to computer programming.

The camp exposed participants to the process and workflow involved in software development, from prototyping to core programming. Students learnt graphical prototyping in User Interface and User Experience (UI/UX) design using Adobe XD.

The objectives of the coding boot camp were to pique the interest of girls in programming and to equip them with a strong foundation in computer science as a first step towards pursuing high-wage technical careers.

The students were divided into 12 groups with each group developing a UI design for a mobile application. Students designed prototypes ranging from a train ticketing application, a fashion boutique application, parent-teachers forum application, music player application, a real estate application, and a doctor appointment scheduling application.