GirlEng (Girls in Engineering Program)

About the Project

This project is one of the 2015 WISE Awards finalists.

GirlEng was developed to create greater awareness around engineering and related careers and increase the application rate for girls to pursue studies in engineering. The program links maths and science education to engineering in a fun and practical way, working with girls at high school between the ninth and 12th grades. GirlEng has already run for five years in South Africa, and the first cohort of GirlEngers have graduated with engineering degrees.

Context and Issue

The shortage of engineers is a global issue. Moreover he number of women in engineering has been of particular concern as women are still grossly under-represented, with the percentage of women graduates in engineering still below 20 percent in many countries. 

There is a critical skills gap in engineering which has been hampering infrastructure and service delivery in many countries, especially in Africa, where the number of engineers is very low.

Growth in the areas of science, engineering and technology could be the catalyst for job creation, social upliftment and economic development.

Solution and Impact

To tackle this issue, the GirlEng program uses a multi-faceted approach to engage young girls around engineering. It is a grassroots, bottom-up solution that encompasses two types of sessions: Information sessions and the Workshop program. The Information sessions are largely around engineering career awareness delivered by young female engineering students. The Workshops are a two-day intensive program around engineering where students start with personal development sessions and an innovation challenge. The projects are then tested, and students have an opportunity to tweak projects to make them more effective and test them again. 

A mentorship program for high school students is implemented in partnership with companies from the engineering industry that sends engineers as mentors and offers scholarships to the GirlEngers.

Each program is tailor-made to suit local conditions and ensure a high quality and standard of education. Monitoring and evaluation is key to the success of the program: to date, there has been a first cohort of GirlEng students graduated from engineering degrees. 

Future Developments

The organization is planning to roll out the program to other countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Turkey, and Singapore. 
April 26, 2015 (last update 12-30-2020)