“Women can do it too!” Young women in trades supported in first quiz day

“Women can do it too!” Young women in trades supported in first quiz day

Start a dialogue!

The cheers erupting from more than 500 students filling the auditorium at Kumasi Technical Institute in Ghana could be mistaken for cheers inspired by a football match.

But instead of a football match, the cheers were in support of student participants in the first TVET Quiz competition, which took place on Jan. 18 and 19, 2024.

The event was part of an effort to encourage young women in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) that are typically dominated by men. The competition took place in Kumasi, the bustling capital city of southern Ghana’s Ashanti Region.

“The zeal and morale boosting is truly inspiring [for the young women],” said Harriet Anim, WUSC project officer for the INVEST project in Kumasi. “The male participants are giving the young women space to show that young women can do it too.”

he competition was open to all students in the fields of electrical engineering, welding and auto mechanics. Three local schools were represented (Kumasi Technical Institute, Anointed Technical Institute and Suame Technical Institute). Each school put forth three contestants. Of the 12 quiz participants, four were young women and eight were young men.

“I told all the schools to put their best soldiers forward,” said Farm Radio project officer Rosetta Atiso. “I’m pleased to see that female participants were selected among the best.”

Onstage, the vice principal held the role of “quiz master.” He asked questions to participants.

“List three advantages of using ACSR cables in overhead transmission lines!”

“What is the purpose of resistance connected to a source of voltage in a series?”

“What is the difference between a relay and a circuit breaker?”

Amelia Ayaaba is 23 years old and is nearing the end of her electrical engineering training at Anointed Technical Training Institute (ATTI) in Kumasi. She’s one of the two ATTI students representing their school in the electrical engineering category.

“It is my dream to one day be a master teacher, and one day train other females. And I myself will be the boss of my own company,” said Amelia.

While she acknowledges there can be biases in the field posing barriers to her and her fellow female tradespeople, she focuses on accomplishing her dream.

“Sometimes when we get to a site the males will say things like ‘Oh you’re female, you shouldn’t be here. You have to be in the kitchen.’ But I always tell them that this is my dream and I can do it.”

The winning team for electrical engineering included 17-year-old Ernestina Qwartey of the Kumasi Vocational Training Institute.

She is two years into the program and sees a stable career path in her future.

“I want to become an engineer. I want to earn a living for my family and myself,” said Ernestina.

Her partner in the competition is 18-year-old Emmanuel Antwi.

“It’s very good to support women engineers,” said Emmanuel. “When we support them, they see that it isn’t difficult. They can do it!”

WUSC project officer for Kumasi, Harriet Anim, hopes the energy and spirit of the competition will extend beyond the quiz event.

“The young women showed they are able to do it when given the opportunity,” said Harriet. “And this kind of learning environment encourages the students to share ideas and strive for more.”

TVET Quiz competitions organized through the INVEST project also took place in Takoradi (Jan. 25 and 26, 2024) and Accra (Feb. 1 and 2, 2024).

Farm Radio International (FRI) is a Canadian non-profit organization specializing in ICT-enabled extension and communication for reaching rural and remote communities at scale in local languages in sub-Saharan Africa. FRI’s core expertise is collaborative, user-focused co-creation of quality information and advisory services, combining radio and mobile phones, other ICTs and face-to-face interaction.