Risk taking, experimentation, and competition stimulate deep learning, while encouraging innovation. An environment that fosters this type of creativity by enabling students (and people in general) to think, test their ideas, and to reject conventional wisdom is a critical pillar for economic transformation. In his new book, “A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy,” Economic Historian Joel Mokyr asserts that the industrial revolution occurred in Europe (and not in China, for example) for this very reason. In a nutshell, “Europe developed a unique culture of competitive scientific and intellectual advancement that was unprecedented and not at all predestined.” This enabled the world to leapfrog from being extremely poor to stunningly rich in just a few centuries.
We strongly believe that Africa must ride that wave of “competitive scientific and intellectual advancement” to catapult the continent into a much improved future. It begins with the educational system and how the curiosity of young students is nurtured. Unfortunately, most public schools fall short of providing this level of practical rigor. Even when hands-on activities are organized to complement theoretical in-class instruction, they are sometimes based on outdated concepts and materials. This invariably limits the ability of African students who could otherwise make valuable contributions to global scientific knowledge and innovation.
We are therefore committed to providing African students, particularly girls, with that critical environment where “risk is rewarded, curiosity is encouraged, and creativity is expected.” We do this through our high-quality after-school programs; which enable students to devise solutions to the challenges they witness around them and to actually transform their ideas into something tangible. Students in our programs are given the space and the materials to build things. It is personally fulfilling for them to see a prototype that they have constructed in action. It builds their confidence and further stimulates their creativity and innovation potential. We believe that all students across Africa, even those who attend financially strapped public schools, should have access to these types of learning opportunities. Africa needs to harness all of its talent in order to progress!
We had an eventful third quarter! Our annual STEM Summer Camp for Teenage Girls was highly successful, as was our inaugural Coding Boot Camp for Girls. Some of the participants also had the opportunity to showcase their STEM skills during a special roundtable meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. We also formally registered the Visiola Foundation Ghana and have awarded our inaugural scholarships to disadvantaged girls to study Engineering and Management Information Systems (MIS) at Ashesi University. Finally, we awarded the 2016 scholarships to indigent girls to study Computer Science at Lead City University.
Take a walk with us as we review our activities during the third quarter of 2016.
Debisi and Ladé
Dr. Debisi Araba Lade Araba