By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The third edition of the STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics prize competition organized by the Denis and Lenora Foretia foundation has been launched. The launching ceremony took place May 14, 2019 at the foundation’s head office in Yaounde.
The competition brings together young scholars from both secondary and tertiary schools (between the ages of 13 and 21 years) to design projects that have the greatest potential of positively changing their communities. To be eligible for the STEM prize competition, applicants must come from any country within the CEMAC zone (Cameroon, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea). The application must be composed of a team of at least two or at most five people and must have at least one girl.
According to Mrs. Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer at the Denis and Lenora Foretia foundation, the STEM prize competition was established to encourage young Cameroonians especially girls and young women to pursue careers in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM. “In 2018, we were all gathered here for this same event which saw the participation of a good number of young people with very innovative and ingenious ideas brought to light through fantastic projects with great potentials of impacting positive change in our communities” She said.
Students from Quality international who had a project on “Hemo Android mobile application” won first position with a cash prize of FCFA 1.5 million.
After braving the odds, not studying for two years, passing through bushes, ambushed and tortured, students from Government Bilingual Grammar School Kumbo won the second prize with a project title “Fighting Deforestation by substituting wood with mini biogas plants in restaurants by 2019 in Kumbo, North West Region of Cameroon”. The students went home with 1 million FCFA to help them in achieving their project.
It should be noted that the town of Kumbo has seen an increase in violence as separatist fighter’s battle with government forces for control of the region. This has forced many students in the North West to abandon schools while others have been killed.
ICT University came in third position winning FCFA 7, 50,000. They had a project call “Mediquick: Mobile application to ease access to healthcare information”. Fourth and fifth positions were occupied by Quality International School and Complex Scolaire Adventiste D’odza respectively.
The Foretia Foundation has three basic parts: The Nkafu policy institute, small business entrepreneur center and sustainable development program. The STEM prize which is the idea of Dr. Denis Foretia and Lenora Ebule was established to encourage young Cameroonians and Africans, especially girls and young women to pursue careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Aim of STEM Prize Competition
Science and Technology are becoming the most pervasive force in our global economy and modern society. In other words, the growth and ultimately the success of any economy in these modern times depend heavily on their investment and improvement in the fields of science and technology. As our society becomes increasingly environmentally aware, health conscious, and reliant on technology, it is normal it becomes more dependent on students pursuing studies in STEM.
Since 2009, the Government of Cameroon (GoC) launched its strategy to make Cameroon an emerging economy by the year 2035. For this vision to be realized, Cameroon needs to produce more professionals in the field of STEM by increasing the number of youths studying courses in STEM from 10% to at least 30%.
Hence, the aim of the STEM Prize Competition is to raise awareness on the importance of STEM to an economy and encourage more youths to get into careers in STEM, consequently, building a foundation for Cameroon’s 2035 vision to be achieved.
For more information about the requirement and details on registration and datelines, prospective schools/groups are called upon to visit the foundation’s official website (www.foretiafoundation.org) or the STEM prize website (www.stemprize.org).
Since its creation in 2012, the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation is committed to making significant contributions to the building of the Cameroonian society. The foundation aims to impact and ameliorate the lives of millions of people in the African continent.