COVID-19 has made 4IR a reality for all

STEAM Room Banner2

Welcome to the STEAM Room. As women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) I thought it would be great to create a space for us to have candid yet insightful and inspirational talks about issues we experience in our respective fields. And here we are!

Many employees have been proposing and even fighting for their employers to adopt policies which allow them to work remotely. However, in most cases this was seen as absurd, despite employees having access to laptops, cell phones and data. But realistically, it was also a trust issue: could employees be trusted to work from home, unattended, out of sight, away from the manager’s watchful eye? Well, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced employers to find out. IT guys (this includes the girls, of course) around the country have been working tirelessly, especially during the days leading up to the lockdown. IT guys had to make sure employees are ‘lockdown ready’, connected to servers, given laptops, bought routers… you know the drill.

covid19tech

The amazing thing is, we could have done all of this even without COVID-19’S intervention. South Africa has, for the longest time, had good technological infrastructure and resources. Internet banking. Online food orders. Zoom and WhatsApp calls. Google Docs. We’ve been doing this. What’s great is technology is solutions-driven; on 2 April, 30 of the world’s leading digital technology experts gathered in a virtual roundtable to help advance the World Health Organisation’s collaborative response to COVID-19. And much more is being done with technology.

We kick off our COVID-19 themed STEAM Room series with one of our own, Womandla Head of STEAM, a self-confessed nerd who is in the field of technology.

Rumbi

Tell us about yourself

My name is Rumbidzaishe Maisva. I am the Head of STEAM for Womandla Foundation where I forward the agenda of encouraging young girls and women to pursue careers. I am part of a great team that aims to educate and equip communities in STEAM related opportunities. I am based in Cape Town where I am also a Senior Quality Assurance (QA) Automation Engineer at Global Kinetic Software Engineers, a FinTech (Financial Technology) company. At Global Kinetic, I am part of awesome QA and project teams delivering simple and effective solutions to complex problems. Additionally, I am an Allan Gray Orbis Foundation mentor. I am passionate about education and making it accessible to people in underprivileged communities.

How does a day in your life look like (pre-COVID-19)?

A day in my life – well, that depends… It’s constantly changing. I go from being a Mentor in one hour, to strategic planning as a software engineer or as the Head of STEAM, the next. But normally I’m just your nerd next door: working with computers and trying to find ways to make an impact including and outside of that. I get into work in the morning and read an article that’s relevant to me, increasing my knowledge. I then check my meetings for the day, plan my day and aim to achieve my goals for the day. I’m a checklist kind of person and I like ticking my list off. 

How has COVID-19 impacted your industry?

I feel the Software Development industry has been ahead of the curve. I have been working from home once a week for the past year and for most software developers, for even longer. What I do believe has changed, has been the amount of work that people now realise can be automated.

If anything, COVID-19 has acted as an agent for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) at an exponential rate.

On the positive side companies have been able to continue business and not lose revenue even with the current lockdown in place. This will prevent a large number of people being retrenched as a result of the company being in financial distress. I know of a number of companies that have been implementing COVID initiatives to this regard. Also, there is 4IR opportunities for more jobs being created but this will require people to acquire the necessary skills for the new roles.

On the negative side a large number of people might be unemployed if they roles have become automated and no longer require human involvement.

What do you think can be done to help your industry recover; what are some of the practical steps we can take to assist?

Major steps include educating communities on how to acquire the necessary skills that will be essential for their jobs. The IT industry is constantly looking for people and the new opportunities will create even more jobs than we currently have the capacity and the necessary skills set for. We need to have these conversations; government and communities need to find a way to optimise on these new opportunities.

As we get ready to go to emerge out of lockdown, it is then important to look at what these ‘new opportunities’ are and how we can capacitate people, especially the youth, so that they can benefit during what will no doubt be trying times.

About the Author:

Amandla Kwinana is a strategic content and communications specialist and member of the Womandla Foundation STEAM Committee.    

About The STEAM Room

The STEAM Room is a space for women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) to explore innovative solutions to the challenges facing our communities and share intriguing stories from their respective worlds. The platform also provides an opportunity for STEAM entrepreneurs to profile their ventures. As with a traditional steam room, women step out of the STEAM Room feeling rejuvenated. 

Ending Period Poverty

Womandla joined forces with FemConnect and Nubia Network to bring a soft launch of the new Healthcare App through the #WeGotUGirl campaign.

89968030_214040973309051_5124698932558954496_o

The event was held at the American Corner, Cape Town, in an open dialogue format or rather “Pyjama Party” which addressed feminine healthcare education, menstrual cups courtesy of My Soft Cup, real life experiences and so much more.

We are so honored to have been the beneficiaries of the sanitary towels donated. These will help a great deal in Langa Township where we run our mentorship programme.

#Womandla

#WeGotUGirl

Why is there an A STE(A)M?

IMG-4327The ‘A’ in STEM to STEAM is a global movement. The Arts – humanities, music, language arts, dance, drama, design, etc. have seamlessly collaborated and naturally connected with STEM fields and vice versa. Arts have been seen as social, humanizing, creative and more inclusive concepts. Sciences on the other end of the spectrum have been seen to be exclusive and logical.

STEM and Arts were seen to be mutually exclusive. STEAM addresses the investigation of STEM concepts using more creative processes of problem solving. Incorporating Arts into STEM will not only make the learning and careers more engaging but it also results in more inclusiveness.

STEAM presents an opportunity to spark excitement in learning STEM, improved critical thinking and problem solving.

STEAM addresses the investigation of STEM concepts using more creative processes of problem solving.

The STEAM movement originated at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The STEAM movement has been backed up by Internationally recognised institutes and seems to be making it’s way slowly into Africa. Design thinking is one of the aspects that incorporates Arts in STEM as a process for creative problem solving.

Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education researched the addition of the ‘A’ to STEM subjects as a means of humanizing science and technology-enhanced learning (Ge, Ifenthaler & Spector, 2015).
IMG-4326 If you remember Shuri from the Black Panther movie, she made use of technology in a very creative way.
Shuri was the architect behind Wakanda’s technology and as a scientist and engineer lead the Design Group. Her design ideas for the technologies were innovative with a lot of focus on creative modern aspects.

Collaborations of Arts and STEM are not a new concept, you may already know a few:

  • Da Vinci made use of his biology and civil engineering studies to enhance his artwork.
  • Leah Heiss, Melbourne-based designer and RMIT researcher has developed jewellery to assist diabetics administer their insulin, wearable cardiac monitor necklace, CaT Pin that can detect loneliness and can be customised to the style and aesthetics of the wearer.

So the next time someone says STEAM instead of STEM  it is not because they misspelled or mispronounced.

We as Womandla STEAM are definitely looking to have events incorporating Arts in STEM. Hence, the birth of Womandla STEAM pillar which was previously Womandla STEM.

References:
Cambridge University’s Faculty of Education publication
Leah Heiss website

2015, Emerging technologies for STEAM education : full STEAM ahead. Edited by Ge, Xun, Ifenthaler, Dirk and Spector, J. Michael, Springer, Berlin, Germany.
Forbes November 7, 2019 – When STEM Becomes STEAM We Can Change The Game
2012, Voices from the field: Teachers’ views on the relevance of arts integration. Cambridge, MA: Lesley University. Bellisario, K. & Donovan, L.

Join our 2020 STEAM Committee!

We are looking for some amazing women to join the Womandla team.

Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to join an amazing team? Are you looking for a way to make an impact to girls and women’s lives?

If that sounds like you, please read on:

2.png3.png

Send us your video via email to info@womandla.com

DEADLINE: 6 February 2020.

Social Media platforms:

    • Instagram: @womandla
    • Twitter: @womandla1
    • Facebook: @womandlaonline

Internship Opportunity

Applications for the 2020 Premier’s Advancement of Youth Internship Program are now open.

The PAY project will provide matrics first work experience and training beginning 1 April 2020 till 31 March 2021.

The PAY project allows young people the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the public sector, and build their CVs and skills sets, making them more marketable and employable in the future.

The successful candidates will be placed in opportunities across all 13 Western Cape Government departments.
I encourage all young people who meet the qualifying criteria, to make use of this opportunity. We have seen a number of our PAY interns over the years launch successful careers, using this opportunity as a stepping stone.

Qualifying criteria:
• You have written and passed the National Senior Certificate (NSC) in the Western Cape
• You are not going to study further in 2020
• You are a South African citizen, residing in the Western Cape
• You are financially constrained
• You are aged 24 years and younger

Applications opened on 6 Jan 2020 & close on 17 Jan 2020.
Only online applications will be accepted. Applicants will need an email address in order to apply.
➡https://lnkd.in/d-979Ua and follow the prompts register and to apply.

All the Best!

#WOMANDLA

Message from the Director

EIMyaJOWsAA9vPF.jpg

Womandla has grown in leaps and bounds this year and I have my generous team of EXCO members to thank.

The journey has been smooth and not without challenges, but these challenges have shaped us to the improved versions of ourselves that we are.

Our year started off with the pilot of the Mentorship Programme at Langa High School in Cape Town, followed by a Sanitary towel drive that was supported nationwide to keep the female learners in school. This exercise taught us about resilience, relationship building and sharpened our communication skills. Our NPO held a Careers Expo at the school with willing companies, to expose learners of the various career options, university courses as well as financial aid available.

Yolanda, who leads the mentorship portfolio, was chosen to attend the World Youth Forum in Egypt this December.

Our Head of STEM was chosen by Codespace, as of one the panelists in STEM for a coding and robotics camp and later in the year nominated for an ITTPSA award under the Social Responsibility category. The STEM department exhibited in the Women in ICT event and hosted a coding workshop for beginners – a job well done!

We held the inaugural Womandla Women in STEM Awards sponsored by Nedbank, during Women’s month and celebrated high achievers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Southern Africa!

The Womandla EXCO was invited to Parliament twice to attend and participate in the Budget vote Speech and the Western Cape Provincial legislature Debate on GBV.  Critical conversations were had, especially regarding the on-going massacre of women in our country. I cannot pen this report without thinking about Uyinene Mrwetyana and many other women and children who lost their lives through gender-based violence this year. May justice prevail in this country.

Part of our strategy for 2020 is to branch out of Cape Town and further our reach to our Durban, East London and Johannesburg supporters and collaborate with other partners in Africa in our respective areas and continue with our skills development, nation-building initiatives and activism.

All these efforts listed above could not have happened without the support of the amazing team, followers and families, City of Cape Town, the DG Murray Trust, Maitland Group, Aspire Solutions, Global Kinetic and various venue sponsors, volunteers and donors. Thank you to the media Massiv Metro, Cape Talk, LeadSA, Radio Pulpit, Trace, Afternoon Express and Bizcommunity and not to mention social media for amplifying our voice to the masses.

Sithi Nangamso!

Wishing you a prosperous New Year.

Regards,

Sam Gqomo