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From 18th-21st July, the PEI Foundation was delighted to partner with Medine Education Village to deliver ‘Future Women Leaders in STEM Week’ in Mauritius. The four-day programme allowed 100 female secondary school students, aged 13-15, to learn more about science and technology and its real world applications.

During the week, a range of visiting expert speakers, workshops leaders and role models delivered a mixture of seminars, hands on training and Q&A sessions with the students. On the first day of the program, we were honored to have CASELA Adventures conduct hands on learning activities on working with animals with the girls. The following day, WiseOceans led workshops that allowed our students to immerse themselves in Mauritius’ marine science and learn about climate change. Finally, the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre delivered engaging and exciting activities that taught the girls about science in everyday life, and Prof Frédéric Meslin of the Ecole Centre de Nantes delivered a fascinating lecture on inventions and the future of science.

The program closed with a prize giving ceremony hosted by the PEI Foundation Board Members, Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, the Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, Sir Christopher Edwards and Sir Magdi Yacoub, with a message from HE Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. Special guests, including Hon Marie-Aurore Marie-Joyce Perraud, Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, and Prof Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University, also joined to award the student prizes. In addition, Professor Kaushik Basu, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, delivered a stimulating lecture that explained why girls are crucial to Africa’s scientific revolution.

The week was run and managed by the Planet Earth Institute Foundation, supported by funding from Northfields International School and MCB Group (educational resources) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Mauritius, to ensure students from across the country took part.

The ‘Future Women Leaders in STEM Week’ is a crucial part of our Science and Technology Enrolment Programme (STEP), an educational initiative designed to deliver interactive study days for schools in Mauritius, with the aim of increasing enrolment in the sciences. By inspiring students’ critical thinking, the program hopes to spark enthusiasm for STEM subjects, and encourage young learners to pursue these subjects to tertiary level. STEP aims to work with more than 500 students by the end of 2016, helping to inspire the future scientific leaders of Mauritius.

Thank you so much to the talented and passionate young women who took part in the program, as well as all our fantastic workshop leaders. We are especially grateful to MCB Group, Northfields International School, and the Ministry of Education in Mauritius for helping to make the ‘Future Women Leaders in STEM’ Week a reality.

HE Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius and Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute

“If Mauritius is to become a knowledge-based economy, we must equip our young people with the high-level scientific and technical skills they need to prosper. As such, it is critical that we inspire young people, especially young women, to pursue the sciences and realize the difference it can make to the country and the world”.

I am extremely proud of our ‘Future Women Leaders in STEM Week’, and thank our partners and sponsors for making it happen and for playing their part in inspiring our students to unlock their scientific potential.”

Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute

Our STEP initiative is an important initiative to make sure we continue to swell the interest and engagement in sciences from an early age, and in particular at the time that students are making their future study choices. STEP will continue to work hard in Mauritius to make sure that students can experience new and exciting elements of science, and understand its huge variations, forms and potential benefits”.

Marc Desmarais, Head of Medine Education

“I think organisations can play a major role in shaping young girls into future leaders in STEM fields, by bringing together stakeholders and showcasing STEM careers to young girls in an engaging way. We were very thrilled to have hosted the STEP week on our Pierrefonds campus, and particularly proud to have partnered with Planet Earth Institute Foundation to make this happen in Mauritius”.

Antony Withers, Chief Executive, Mauritius Commercial Bank

“We feel privileged to have supported the women leaders of tomorrow by providing the educational resources for this camp, and we urge them to keep believing in their dreams as the future is full of promising for talents in science and technology”

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