EDUCATION: Electrical Engineering | Northeastern University
Given the numerous challenges Africa faces such as climate change and infectious diseases, African youth are in urgent need of access to high quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education to combat these issues and prepare for 21st century jobs nationally and globally. Currently in Africa, most STEM jobs are performed by or outsourced to multinationals from China, India, and the US (Jamme, 2015). This is evidence that African youth today are being left behind by failed education systems which do not appropriately equip them for the STEM fields.
Growing up in Mali, Mohamed T. Kante was encouraged by his parents to pursue university studies in the United States due to the narrow career prospects and the lack of opportunity at home, especially in science and technology. Earning a BS in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in 2012, Mohamed learned firsthand how STEM education and skills can be useful. Thus, he desired to give the youth of his homeland the opportunity to grow up with access to this knowledge and education from a young age. Being instilled with a great work ethic by his mother and once told that those who are educated should in turn educate, Mohamed founded iNERDE and registered it as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2013.
iNERDE is a social enterprise committed to educational and economic change in Africa. It is a bridge between alternate universes - the high-tech world and the developing countries in Africa, to provide youth with the tools and inspiration to make a lasting impact in their communities through educational interventions and leadership development. The first fruits were observed in 2014 with a 7-week summer camp in Mali by engaging students in interactive, team-based science and engineering projects. Efforts greatly increased in 2015 with the introduction of computer labs and a second summer camp added in Senegal with 150 students from five different schools. Malian and Senegalese educators were also trained to bring the pedagogical techniques into their curriculum year-round.
Activities for further expansion in 2016 include 2 supplementary weeks of programming bootcamp where students will be programming robots from Harvard’s Wyss Institute. iNERDE will continue to expand each year to become an active part of the social, educational, and economic upswing taking place in Africa today. Benjamin Franklin said, “All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” iNERDE is comprised of a team of experienced and aspiring scientists, engineers, social scientists, marketers, economists, and bankers from Mali, Togo, Canada, USA, Spain, India, and Burkina Faso who move, giving generously of their free time. Their efforts in turn create students who will move, and become future leaders and change agents in Africa.