Sunday, August 19, 2012

GirlTech Uganda 2012

What is GirlTech Uganda?
GirlTech is a professional development program for early secondary girl students, encouraging them to pursue advanced education and careers in science, math, and technology. The week long program had 79 participants, all girls from secondary 1-3 levels, from all parts of Uganda. As far as we know, it's the first program of its kind in Uganda. Another PCV, Stevie Bergman, and I have been somehow planning this program for about a year now, and it was truly amazing to see it happen!

Activities included daily computer sessions, life skills sessions (re-usable menstrual pads, HIV/AIDS, assertive communication), science sessions, and guest speakers: female Ugandans who work in science or technology fields. We were fortunate to have a forestry supervisor, a fisheries biologist, a doctor, an architect, and a forensic scientist come and share their experiences with the girls. Science sessions included bottle rockets/forces of flight, projectiles, disease detectives (my shameless push for epidemiology!), and volcanoes, where girls got to make their own baking soda volcanoes. Each day was started with a "mad science" session, demonstrating a cool science experiment, intended to "blow their minds!" We also did an awesome astronomy night and two tower of strength competitions, where girls had to create the tallest structure out of limited materials. At the end of the week, we had a science fair where girls showcased science projects they worked on throughout the week.

Our "call to attention" for the week, which we used whenever we had to get the attention of 100+ people was:

Call: Pi
Response: Pi
Call: Pi
Response: Pi
Call: 3.14!
Response: 159!

It worked really well, and was also quite entertaining!

Willysha and Sara wrote the amazing GirlTech song, to the tune of "My Favorite Things:"

Girl Tech Anthem! 

Beakers and test tubes and Bunsen Burners 
Animal dissections and scientific learners. 
Chemical reactions and Goldberg Machines. 
These are a few of our favorite things. 

 Mercury and Neptune, Saturn and Venus 
Earth, Jupiter, Mars and Uranus. 
Planets and stars that shine like flames. 
These are a few of our favorite things. 

When they tell us don't do science, cause you're simply girls. 
That's when we prove to them using our brains. 
We're Girl Tech girls!

Each group of 10 girls was a planet, and staff was the sun!

The awesome GirlTech logo, designed by PCV Khayla Johnson!

Towers became too big to measure!

Kirk, the bottle rocket launcher!

The girls were a bit surprised to see the rockets fly!

Mary, teaching computers!

"Where do you see yourself in 10 years"

Oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid

Ruben's tube: we made fire dance!

What caused the disease? 

An epidemiologist in the making!

How to communicate assertively

Willysha, our lovely life skills teacher!


What's the right angle to launch a water balloon at the opposing team?

The science fair

Teaching others about composting

The sun!

Me and Stevie with Deborah, the amazing HT of our our host school!


Thank you to everyone who made GirlTech possible! We had the most amazing staff members who made miracles happen throughout the week. What a great way to end my Peace Corps service :)