Space4Women is a UNOOSA project that encourages women and girls to pursue an education in space and in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), by sharing knowledge about career opportunities and the importance of gender equality and empowerment in these sectors. The project strengthens the awareness, capacity, and skills of individuals and institutions to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in these fields.
Earlier this year, a call for mentors was made for the project, three African women have been selected as mentors for the African region. Coming from Ghana, Nigeria and Botswana, they bring years of experience in the industry, with the hope of inspiring the next generation of women in the industry. The selected mentors are:
Iroka Chidinma Joy – Chief Engineer, Engineering and Space Systems Division, National Space Research and Development Agency
Iroka Chidinma Joy is a Chief Engineer in the Engineering and Space System Division (ESS) of the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA). She has a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Electronics and Telecommunication at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Bauchi State and a Master’s Degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Enugu State, Nigeria.
She was a member of the Radio Frequency (RF) team of the Nigerian engineers and scientists that were trained in Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, the United Kingdom during which she participated in the designing, building and testing of Nigerian satellites (NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X) launched in 2011. She headed an assembled team from the Radio Frequency Unit of NASRDA to work on “PalmSat-Nig S-Band Microwave Beacon”.
She is currently a PhD researcher in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) focusing on “Rain fade characteristics for Ku-band earth – space communication systems in Nigeria: measurement and modelling”. She is Co-founder and the Secretary-General of the Women in Aerospace Nigeria (WIAN).
Basuti Bolo – Chair of Educational Technologies, Africa University, Zimbabwe
Basuti Gerty Bolo is a PhD candidate of Information Systems and Data management at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), working on the development of precise crop farming geospatial information model of a traditional small scale farming using unmanned aerial vehicle multispectral imagery, to produce a framework that will provide farmers with precise information about their farm’s conditions for sustainable development.
She earned her Master`s degree in Information Systems and Data management from BIUST. Her research was based on developing a geospatial information base land quality evaluation model for rainfed crop farming in Botswana, to identify land that is suitable for sorghum crop for better land-use planning, management and conservation for sustainable development. She also has a PostGraduate Diploma from the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in English affiliated to the United Nation Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Anita Antwiwaa – Head of Operations, All Nations University Space Systems and Technology Laboratory, Ghana
Dr Anita is an Engineer with a PhD in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS), India. Her interests include; Women in STEMI Education, Entrepreneurial STEM Education for the next generation, Satellite Communication etc. She serves as one of the representatives for Ghana at the Global Earth Observation(GEO) programme Board.
She was the Advisor for Women in Engineering (IEEE- ANUC Chapter) in 2013. She is currently the Head of Operations for All Nations University Space Systems Technology Laboratory (SSTL) which successfully launched the historic GhanaSat-1 in 2017 to take photographs of the Earth and to monitor Ghana’s coastal areas. She won the 2019 Space in Africa Essay Competition on enhancing women’s participation in the space industry.
The Space4Women platform is also the central hub for global initiatives and research on various aspects of women’s involvement in STEM and the space sector under the umbrella of the United Nations. Through the website, UNOOSA will provide data, research and evidence-based policy advice to institutions and Governments to increase opportunities for women in the STEM and space sectors, and for recognizing the contributions of women to these fields.
To request to contact a mentor, click here.
To learn more about the UN Space4Women Network, click here.