WANDA- Encouraging Opportunities for Women
The United Nations in 2013 estimated there would be about 9.6 billion mouths to feed worldwide in the year 2050. This drastic population jump will require a corresponding increase in nutritious food production through agriculture. For this to happen, a highly skilled, diverse agricultural sector involving mechanization and computerization has to be embraced globally.
Reports from U.S. News reveals that 27% of the new high- skill agricultural jobs to be created in United States will require STEM education to fill opportunities that exist in the areas of food science, nutrition biological and irrigation engineering as well as water and soil sciences.
As a frontier in promoting businesses and opportunities in “STEM Agriculture” Nahum Heritage Foundation was at the WANDA (Women Advancing Nutrition, Dietetics & Agriculture) launch held on Saturday March 5th, 2016 in Washington, DC to explore areas of collaboration for STEM opportunities in Agriculture. WANDA is a pipeline program to support the next generation of leading women and girls in agriculture, nutrition and dietetics of African descent.
Like the Diaspora, Africa faces both a health and wealth gap especially among women and girls, and high youth unemployment. Simultaneously, the double nutrition burden of obesity and malnutrition, and many diet related chronic diseases are exploding across the continent. Together WANDA women will educate, advocate and innovate for an improved farm to fork system. Nahum looks forward to connecting with WANDA in promoting STEM Agriculture to our next generation, especially girls.
“When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and prosperous.” – First Lady Michelle Obama
Although unemployment rate in United States stands high at 5.5% as of May, 2015, (Bureau of Labor Statistics) majority of jobs still remain unoccupied. This can be attributed to lack of individuals with the required skill set to function effectively in these specialized jobs. Most of these unoccupied jobs share the same similarity since they are mainly in the area Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Professor Uche Abanulo of Montgomery College, Maryland, United State and founder of the Stem Afterschool Academy was at the Nahum Heritage Foundation STEM Career Summit to educate teens on the need for STEM education. She emphasized that teens and youths should embrace STEM at an early stage in life to gain the necessary foundation required to prosper in the field. She added that STEM education will not only empower them with the skills needed to land gainful employments but could also serve as another avenue for job creation through inventions. Professor Abanulo encouraged more girls to sign up for STEM classes as the field seems to be dominated by boys. Nahum Heritage Foundation is working with various organization to see how STEM education can be made more interesting for participants by incorporating it with fashion, art and other interesting activities for teens and youths.