- Title: Teenage girls in northern Nigeria "open their minds" with robotics
- Date: 2nd August 2021
- Summary: KANO, NIGERIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF STUDENT, FATIMA ZAKARI AND CLASSMATE ASSEMBLING A ROBOTIC MACHINE TIMELAPSE OF ZAKARI AND CLASSMATE ASSEMBLING MACHINE (MUTE) MACHINE SPINNING TIMELAPSE OF GIRLS AT LABORATORY (MUTE) (SOUNDBITE) (Hausa) STUDENT, FATIMA ZAKARI, SAYING: "I came to Kabara to learn robotics and I have created a lot of things in robotics like paper crinkler, spin in row, spin art (machine) and I am happy to share this with my younger ones and the community at large for the growth of our society." CLASSROOM SETUP VARIOUS OF TUTOR WRITING ON BOARD READING (English): 'STEM LEARNING' STUDENT LOOKING ON ZAKARI LOOKING ON VARIOUS OF GIRL WRITING VARIOUS OF FOUNDER, KABARA INITIATIVE, HADIZA GARBATI TALKING TO STUDENTS ASSEMBLING ROBOT HAND FIXING BATTERY VARIOUS OF GIRL STARTING BATTERY/MACHINE SPINNING VARIOUS OF MACHINE SPINNING (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, KABARA INITIATIVE, HADIZA GARBATI, SAYING: "The whole ideology behind that is to teach them a particular way to think, to reason. Its logical reasoning and we found that our girls, even though some of them might not be good at traditional mathematics, they've displayed superior intellect in understanding the way the equipment and machines work and basic concepts of physics and basic concepts in mathematics without necessarily understanding what the subject is and we think that is the future."
- Embargoed: 16th August 2021 11:02
- Keywords: Hijab Northern Nigeria STEM girls education science technology
- Location: KANO, NIGERIA
- City: KANO, NIGERIA
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Africa,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA001EOGVMMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Teenage girls in the northern Nigerian city of Kano are learning robotics, computing and other STEM subjects as part of an innovative project that challenges local views of what girls should be doing in a socially conservative Muslim society.
In a place where girls are expected to marry young and their education is often cut short, the Kabara NGO aims to widen their world view through activities such as building machines, using common software programmes and learning about maths and science.
"I came to Kabara to learn robotics and I have created a lot of things in robotics like paper crinkler, spin in row, spin art(machine) and I am happy to share this with my younger ones and the community at large for the growth of our society." said Fatima Zakari, 12.
One of her creations is a battery-powered spin art device to create distinctive artwork.
Kabara is the brainchild of engineer Hadiza Garbati, who wanted to raise the aspirations of northern Nigerian girls and help them develop skills they might harness to start their own small business or enroll at university.
It is a rare educational success story in northern Nigeria, where more than 1,000 children have been kidnapped from their schools by ransom seekers since December, causing many more to drop out because their parents are fearful of abductions.
"The whole ideology behind that is to teach them a particular way to think, to reason. it is logical reasoning and we found that our girls, even though some of them might not be good at traditional mathematics, they've displayed superior intellect in understanding the way the equipment and machines work and basic concepts of physics and basic concepts in mathematics without necessarily understanding what the subject is and we think that is the future," said Garbati.
Kabara, located in a safe area in the heart of Kano, has been unaffected by the crisis.
Garbati said she had overcome resistance from some parents by being highly respectful of Islamic traditions and family values.
The girls all wear their hijabs during their sessions, and there is no close contact with boys.
"The traditional challenges you have are allowing the kids to come out, we've been able to tackle that through the patronage as discussed and of course providing an environment that supports Islamic rules and regulations as well allows for growth and allows for opportunity for engagements," Garbati said.
Crucial to her success has been support from Nasiru Wada, a close adviser to the Emir of Kano, a local religious figurehead who has strong moral authority in the community.
Wada himself holds the traditional title of Magajin Garin Kano.
"Tradition tends to, not say discourage, but does not put enough emphasis on the education of the girl child with the belief that oh at a certain age, she will get married, she will become a housewife but some fail to see, would understand that even a married woman is a manager," he said.
He reiterated that it was paramount to encourage the girl child to study not only the humanities but the science subjects as well.
The Kabara initiative started in 2016, has trained over 200 children in science, technology, engineering and basic vocational skills such as goldsmithing and photography.
The team hopes to expand across various Northern states in the country pending the end of its insecurity challenges.
(Seun Sanni, Ahmad Abdullahi, Nneka Chile)
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