Non-profit Youth For Technology wants to encourage girls in Africa to get into science and engineering through 3D printing. The group is currently running a flexible funding campaign on Indiegogo and will use the money to help cover the costs of buying equipment for schools.
The program, called 3D Africa, has already received a grant from Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech), but hopes that its Indiegogo campaign will help it reach more students.
3D printing is a good way to get more students hooked on STEM subjects because they need to use science, engineering, and math skills to design and print 3D objects. Then the items they create—including phone cases, jewelry and art—serve as tangible reminders of what they can do with STEM skills.
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Njideka Harry, president and CEO of Youth For Technology, tells TechCrunch the non-profit decided to focus on 3D printing because it is a technology that “potentially could mitigate the unemployment situation in Africa by bridging the gap between education and employment.”
“Importantly, 3D printing enables on-demand production, which has interesting implications for supply chains and for stocking spare parts-a major cost for manufacturers. 3D printing is expected to generate $550 billion a year worldwide by 2025,” says Harry. “The technology can transform the continent from ‘Aid to Africa’ to ‘Made in Africa.’”
Harry says it is especially important to get more girls interested in STEM subjects because many of them are discouraged from pursuing engineering, science, or math.
“There are cultural biases that hold that science is the domain of males and that it is not important for girls’ future lives and that girls are not as capable as boys when it comes to science learning.”
Youth For Technology’s goal is to create training programs that enable young people to become entrepreneurs. Its main curriculum is called YTF Academy, which encourages students to study tech-related subjects. 3D Africa will launch first in Nigeria, and Harry says they plan to bring it to other countries after the first year.