When a private Tanzanian company; Apps and Girls, opened offices in Uganda in 2019, their strategy was to transfer their eight years of experience of using robots to motivate Ugandan girls to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).However, like the rest of the world, their operations were affected by the two lockdowns that saw the closure of schools to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Ms Carolyne Ekarisiima, the company’s chief executive officer, they have been using science and robots are attracting girlsto inspire girls in Tanzania to pursue STEM.Ms Ekyarisiima says the project has been experimented at Mengo Senior Secondary School and has been successful .

Under the arrangement, girls are tasked to identify a problem in society and the company assembles a team of mentors to help them develop innovations and the technology to solve it.

“We have girls who have developed a technology to dispense sanitary pads for those who cannot afford the whole packet. Others have developed an automated wheel chair for people living with disabilities. Another group has developed technology to collect garbage from the environment like schools, hospitals and beaches,” Ms Ekyarisiima says.

“They (mentors) identify which innovations have the capacity to compete at the global level and prepare the teams for the competitions so that when the members return, they have to mentor new girls into the programme,” she adds. Hermon Asmeron, a Senior Three student of Mengo SSS and the captain of Uganda Robotics Team, which represented Uganda in the first global robotics challenge, says learning robotics involves coding.

“Robotics teaches you coding programming which is taught in the science world because it is connected to STEM. You will be able to solve different problems in society. You will have motors moving in different directions,” Asmeron says.“This helps them to put into practice what they learnt at school and sometimes where they get it wrong, they are challenged to go back and revise,” she adds.

Ms Oprah Nkalubo, one of the students who developed the robot for collecting garbage, said after identifying the challenge in urban areas, a team from Apps and Girls supported them to understand how science technology engineering and mathematics can be applied on robotics to get a career path.

According to Ms Ekyarisiima, since the introduction of robotics boot camps sponsored by Rockefeller Foundation and First Global in the country, they have noted that girls have challenges and have ideas to solve them.

She says they have a positive attitude towards science subjects because within one year, they have attracted 102 students from Mary Hill, Bugema Adventist SSS, Our Lady of Good Counsel Gayaza and Mengo SSS.

They are planning to introduce a programme in 20 schools within central region next year.


In the aftermath of the two lockdowns, President Museveni advocated for higher remuneration and salaries for scientists and teachers of science in the country.

He argued that scientists develop technologies and create solutions to society problems.

At the beginning of this year, salaries for teachers of science subjects in government schools were enhanced so that they can produce more science students.

Project’s target

1. Promote STEM among girls3: Give girls hands-on skills at an early stage or age in this technology revolution.

4. Create avenues for girls to start their own technology projects which can be funded for them to earn income to pay their school fees

5. Generate a critical mass of female scientists in the country.

2: Generate technology projects that will solve problems in a country e.g. the other pad vending machine.

Source: Monitor