METS AFRIKA4D has launched a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition aimed at promoting STEM in Liberia and other African countries.
The competition, which is expected to take place early next year, seeks to invite interested individuals in education advancement to join the newly developed program – the Vote Love, Peace and Unity4Liberia Cassava Challenge, and register their respective community team(s).
Marjanne Baker, founder of the METS AFRIKA4D, said the first place winner will receive US$500, US$250 for second, while third place will receive US$150.
“We are trying to make sure that our students start thinking critically. But this is the starting point and hope that it would be an annual event in Liberia. We would like to see a minimum of 200 teams,” Madam Baker said.
The organization aims to play a primary role in grooming a new generation that will be forerunners of STEM industries in Liberia and Africa at large. Baker said STEM forms a significant mix of great learning opportunities for students to become proactively engaged in and outside the classroom.
This experience transforms learners into better problem solvers, inventors, logical and independent thinkers, while preparing them for a lifetime of learning and earning in the 21st century.
Madam Baker said the organization has been engaging students and teachers in customized STEM and robotics activities in the last three years in schools in Nigeria and Liberia, calling the activities “interactive and fun-filled.”
According to her, as part of the encouragement, the organization will give participants or finalists the opportunity to develop business plans, plus the cash prize, adding: “We hope that this program can be an annual event.”
Extending the competition to next year, Baker said, is based on its newness to Liberia and the quest to allow more teams to apply and ensure that they communicate well after the series of workshops.
Currently, she said, the organization has people in Maryland, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Nimba and Montserrado counties helping to communicate the information to the people.
“All seven finalists will be awarded certificates and the first place winner will be trained on developing a business plan, and connected to potential investors for promoting their prototype,” she said.
Madam Baker said each of the teams can represent a church, mosque, school or organization, adding, “You can participate as a supporter in these ways: mentor, coach, sponsor, community activist or friends of Liberia.”
Applying as a team of 3 to 5 members (who can be from different schools, districts, communities or religious groups) requires parental consent, said Baker, and advised interested parties to “Work on the challenge as a cohesive unit.”
“Fill out the registration form online and email a PDF document, a 100 word report and consent forms to: [email protected] Only one entry per team is allowed. Students with multiple entries will be disqualified. Entries failing to comply with the competition guidelines listed will be automatically disqualified,” the brochure says.
METS Afrika4D is a nonprofit organization that expanded and piloted services in 2014 – 2016 in Nigeria. It began its trajectory in crisis intervention, relief, immigration services and educational reforms since 1998 in the USA, by providing scholarships to Liberians wishing to pursue higher education with partner colleges and universities in Texas.
Global 2000 (2010), as it was previously named, was a nonprofit 501c3 organization, and was responsible for the shipment of educational, medical equipment and supplies valued at US$1.5 million to Liberia.
METS Afrika4D evolved, reestablishing its base in Liberia in 2017, and is committed to promoting a custom-fit STEM culture in West Africa, with a keen focus on empowering girls and women so they pursue a career in these high priority fields.
Madam Baker is an educator who has spanned the globe dedicating her life to educational reforms, and re-sounds a narrative of hope and unity for Africa.
This customized STEM initiative inspires a new generation of Africans who will be forerunners of an era that views education from a holistic (mind, body and soul) paradigm.