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Keeping Girls in the picture: UNESCO joins hands with Prada to promote Girls’ ICT-STEM Education in Kenya

5 September 2023


From 14-16 August 2023, over 200 girls from two counties in Kenya attended ICT-STEM bootcamps. With the aim of placing them on track to take up studies and careers in STEM, the students were mentored by female role models and introduced to artificial intelligence, coding, robotics, 3D printing, and other foundational 21st century digital skills. The bootcamps were part of the “Keeping Girls in the Picture” campaign, led by UNESCO in partnership with the Ministry of Education and funded by Prada. Over 40 teachers were also trained on Gender Transformative STEM and Digital Skills Education.

Over three days, 220 girls from 20 secondary Schools in Kajiado and Kwale Counties of Kenya coded their own robots, developed their own mobile apps, and 3D-printed their own design projects. Guided by trainers from STEM Impact Centre Kenya, students worked in teams to build and present their ICT projects. For many, it was their first interaction with coding or engineering. The Bootcamps were hosted by Moi Isinya Girls High School in Kajiado County and Waa Girls Secondary School in Kwale County.

The objectives of the Bootcamps were: 

  • To introduce learners to the fundamentals of artificial intelligence, creative coding and robotics, 3D printing and mobile app development. 
  • To increase exposure of learners to STEM careers opportunities for experiential learning and inspiration through mentorship and access to female role models. 
  • To promote the psychosocial outcomes and advocacy on gender responsiveness and self-efficacy in relation to the participation in STEM related subjects. 

Learners also enjoyed the opportunity to engage with women leaders in STEM and ICT on the last day of the bootcamp, as part of the programme’s objectives to foster STEM-ICT mentorship and access to female role models in a field that remains male-dominated. 


"We've learned a lot, especially how to develop our own mobile app. Personally, I've learned a lot even though I don't do [computing], but at least now, I won't be blank when I'm given a computer! ... I'm expecting to learn more, even after I go home. I will be able to teach other students what I learned after this programme."

- StudentMoi Girls Isinya High School -


As the girls cracked the code, teachers from Kajiado and Kwale also attended training sessions aimed at strengthening the capacity of the education system to provide gender-responsive/transformative STEM and digital education. Educators experimented with UNESCO’s Quality gender-responsive STEM education manual, discussed how to mitigate factors that would inhibit girls from pursuing STEM-ICT subjects in schools, and explored how ICT integration in classrooms could enhance STEM learning. 

“Keeping Girls in the Picture” is a campaign under the Gender Flagship of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition, which aims to safeguard progress made on girls’ education, ensure girls’ learning continuity during school closures, and promote girls’ safe return to school. The Global Education Coalition—with over 200 members—was launched in 2020 as a platform for collaboration to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives and education of 1.5 billion learners in more than 190 countries—especially girls.  

Since then, the “Keeping Girls in the Picture” campaign has produced a variety of advocacy tools, including toolkits, social media packs, guidelines, and films to promote public awareness and multi-stakeholder cooperation on research-based policies to prevent widening gender inequalities in education. As a continuation of these efforts, the bootcamps aim to encourage and empower girls to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) fields. 

In attendance to open the programme in Kajiado were the Chief Guest, Ms. Elizabeth Otieno, Deputy Director, Directorate of Policy Partnership and East Africa Community Affairs, Ministry of Education; Ms. Cicilia Koyieyio, representing the County Director of Education-Kajiado, and Mr. Solomon Leseewa, the County Director, Teachers Service Commission. UNESCO was represented by Ms. Scheherazade Feddal, Education Programme Specialist, UNESCO Multi-sectoral Regional Office for Eastern Africa. 

"Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are the driving forces behind innovation, progress, and the solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. It's imperative that we ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, has a seat at this transformative table."

- Scheherazade FeddalEducation Programme Specialist, UNESCO Multi-sectoral Regional Office for Eastern Africa -


Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires transformative thinking and action to leverage the potential for STEM and ICT to transform and improve people’s lives. There is a growing demand for professionals with STEM and ICT skills in Africa, where the so-called fourth industrial revolution is expected to create a wide range of new jobs in these fields. 

Against this backdrop, girls’ access to, and engagement in ICT and STEM is more crucial now than ever. However, despite being a field strongly associated with advancement, women and girls remain particularly under-represented in STEM and ICT careers. Globally, girls are still less likely than boys to have digital skills, according to the International Telecommunication Union Facts and Figures 2022. A report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2019) found women comprised only 29.3 per cent of scientific researchers in the world. 

Female participation and leadership in ICT-STEM fields is critical to advance continental, regional and national development efforts. “Keeping girls in the picture” goes beyond keeping girls in school. It also means reducing the gender digital divide by empowering girls’ participation and achievement in STEM-ICT fields, so that they too may become active agents in a more equal, green, and tech-driven future. 

For more information about UNESCO-Prada’s #KeepingGirlsinthePicture campaign and the Global Education Coalition, visit: Keeping girls in the picture | UNESCO