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Semenitari Wants Niger Delta Multinationals To Help Develop Girls In Engineering, Sciences   

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Multinationals operating in the Niger Delta region, in particular, the oil and gas companies, have been urged to partner with the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) on the Girls in Engineering, Mathematics and Science (GEMS) programme, so as to ensure it becomes “a worthy and engaging incubator for breeding young ladies who will grow up to conquer the world in various STEM-related careers”.

The acting NDDC Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari said this Wednesday, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital at the GEMS 2016 grand finale.

In initiating GEMS, Mrs. Semenitari affirmed that the Commission was igniting a spark within the young science stars, remarkable women, as well as in the society, expected “to build into a fire that will lead to great things. She added that it was good for Nigerian society and the Niger Delta region, as well as for the country’s collective future.

While noting that GEMS is a programme borne out of desire, as well as social commitment and responsibility, to bridge the gaps that exist in gender related issues, in persistent drive to facilitate the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region, the former Rivers State Commissioner for Information restated that the GEMS mission “is to promote innovative, research and standards-based practices, which will encourage students with interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to thrive in the 21st century global economy”.

“The programme hopes to leverage on its extensive network of expertise, partnerships, resources and experience by providing Niger Delta girls who have shown remarkable brilliance in these areas needed platform to excel and grow as scientists.

“We believe that science and technology can become exciting again, for our young ones. GEMS presents a healthy competition that helps our girls interpret science in such a way that we can use science, in a glamorous way, to do every day things, and resolve every day challenges” the NDDC boss stressed.

She also noted that the 33 finalists – from SSS1 and SSS2, have begun to appreciate the practicality of science, at their young age.

In the light of this, Semenitari expressed delight that the project has turned out to be a foundation, upon which the participants and other young indigenes of the Niger Delta, as well as the schools in the region, would “build our collective future”.

On the hurdles before the final, the veteran journalist explained that finalists were selected from a rigorous elimination process that began with 2880 girls from the nine NDDC mandate states.

From the first screening test, 1110 girls were selected, out of which 270 were selected at 30 girls per state. The acting NDDC Chief Executive Officer indicated further that the contest progressed to the state finals, where 11 girls qualified from each state, leading to the regional finals, where 11 girls were selected from each of the three regions. Out of the 33 who will participate in the grand finale, Semenitari informed that 10 would be selected for recognition, while the top five would receive awards, prizes and scholarships.

According to Semenitari, the school that produces the first prize winner would go with chemistry laboratory, while the second and third schools would get a physics and biology laboratory, respectively, adding that consolation prizes such as laptops would also be given to the finalists.

Despite that some of the girls have been picked as finalists, the NDDC boss affirmed that the Commission regarded all the girls who participated in the contest at different stages as pioneers of an emerging revolution, stating they “all are beacons for many more girls who will participate in future editions of GEMS”.

In her words of encouragement, Semenitari said to the participants: “You have all shown that you have within you precious beads of excellence with which you can produce little sparks that can illuminate the world. You have innate qualities with which you can open doors of greater opportunities infuture and change the world. You have shown that our young girls can channel science and technology to help tackle the enormous challenges inherent in giving our people a better life”.

She hoped that the competition, as well as the recognition to be received by the contestants would send a message to young women everywhere, that the doors were open to them and that they must pursue their dreams.



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