A team of young students from Ghana is set to depart for the United States to compete in a global robotics challenge this week.
The all-girls team is made up of six students from the Archbishop Porter Girls Senior High School in Takoradi and would represent the country at the FIRST Global Challenge, an Olympic-style robotics competition featuring over 150 countries.
Team Ghana will be led by Linda Ansong, the executive director of STEMbees, an organisation whose aim is to attract and groom young girls into the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The challenge for this year’s competition is to develop a robot that can help solve the worldwide problem of access to clean water.
The competition will run from from July 16 to July 18 and will take place at Constitutional Hall, in Washington D.C.
In an interview, Linda Ansong said “the robot the girls have built is an efficient one and can perform the challenge ahead of us in this global competition.”
“For the girls I believe they really want to win this competition because they have been doing robotics for a while and this is the first time they are competing on a global level.”
The news of Ghana’s participation in the competition could not have come at a better time. It follows weeks of intense attention on the annual National Science and Maths Quiz and the recent launch of a satellite into space by the All Nations University College.
According to Ansong, by having an all-girls team, it would serve as an inspiration for many young women to venture into the male-dominated fields of STEM.
“At the end of this journey we hope to have inspired more girls to pursue science and technology related causes in school and for the members of the team to have had fun and met new people.”
The girls would however be missing a crucial member of the squad, a teacher from their school who guided them to build the robot as he was unfortunately denied a visa to the United States by the embassy.
It is hoped that the attention that would surround the team would be followed up with financial support for organisations such as STEMbees as they build what they term as a SiSTEM (Sisters in STEM).