In 2021, Coderina was among the beneficiaries to be awarded a $50,000 grant from the national STEM advocacy nonprofit FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The FIRST® STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant.
Since receiving this award, the organization has strived to increase access to FIRST® programs for underrepresented and underserved students in various communities across Nigeria.
Ninty (90%) of the awarded grant went into purchasing ClassPack resources for Discover, Explore, Challenge, and FTC programs.
In collaboration with the school management authority, fifty Teachers from various communities in FCT were introduced to and trained on the FIRST® Discover program for children ages 4-6.
Teachers, in turn, cascaded the training to young learners in their schools. The schools also received ClassPack training resources.
It is already evident that this intervention is helping the schools develop new and innovative approaches to address equity, inclusion, and diversity inequalities in the STEM (science, technology, education, and math) field.
The grant also allowed our organization to expand and resource our free STEM access training to young learners in 6 libraries across the country.
The libraries‘ location is Kaduna, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja Bauchi, and Enugu, each in one of the country’s six geopolitical zones.
The expansion aims to scale deep within these regions and reach every underserved population while ensuring no one is left behind.
At 4 of these centers, we provide Programs such as FIRST® LEGO® League challenge, Explore, and FTC to students. However, additional support is required to resource two of the centers fully.
We also donated FLL and FTC kits and season challenge sets to schools’ teams in communities where access to STEM education is scant we also provided them with training.
Beyond the FCT schools and the training at the libraries, we also ventured deeper into the hinterlands to reach the unreached. For example, we worked closely and will continue to work with a group of 60-100 primarily out-of-school girls based in the underserved community of Kiyi through our Her eSTEAM® program that leverages the power of FIRST® to improve the self-esteem of young girls.
This group of girls from Kiyi are mainly hawkers who barely spend half of the day in school before rushing home to hawk various wares to help sustain their families. During our interview with the girls, they expressed a huge desire for education but could not afford school fees, etc.
So, we engaged a teacher to help them with school work while also introducing them to robotics and coding. It’s heartwarming to say that these girls can build, program, and code robots just after a few months of engagement.
The program has enabled them with problem-solving skills and creative thinking. We are beginning to hear them develop innovative ideas to help them start an entrepreneurial endeavor. As a result, they are highly motivated, and we can say that the future is bright for them.
We have scratched the surface and unearthed many hidden gems in places where no one ventured before; however, sustainability is crucial. We are optimistic that partners and other stakeholders would find it worthy to support these initiatives and making them sustainable.