STEM fellowship program for women in India
As part of our partnership with greenlight for girls, Solvay funded the g4g fellowship program, supporting the educational needs of 12 young women aged 17-22 years old from rural agricultural communities in Jaipur, India.
Our funding contributed to building the young women’s computer literacy through a village center created specifically for them and we also provided the young women with further learning opportunities. They spent two hours every day learning computer basics, hardware and software concepts, Hindi and English typing, cyber security and internet navigation.
To further enhance the learning experience, we organized two events aimed at connecting the young women with role models from Solvay. One of the events was held remotely on July 13, 2022, so that any scientist from India speaking Hindi could participate. The second event was held in a school in Vadodara, India on August 4, 2022, with Solvay scientists physically present.
Inspiring younger generations to ‘progress beyond’
For the first event, Solvay’s g4g team went to the computer literacy center and connected the girls to two scientists at Solvay Vadodara through a video call. The young women, who speak a dialect of Hindi, had the opportunity to hear from these scientists and conduct some hands-on experiments inspired by the content in the Solvay Innovator’s Hub. This helped them to build their confidence, continue skill-building and see how education and learning can bring them closer to the world around them. They also watched videos from g4g Founder and Chairman Melissa Rancourt and Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri, two inspiring role models in STEM fields.
“The 12 young women seemed totally at ease with booting up a computer, firing up the browser, turning on their personal hotspot and showing me that they knew how to navigate the internet. Thanks to the videos of the scientists (in Hindi) and role models, they hung onto every word… their eyes lit up, hearing from girls, not much older than themselves. They loved what 'progress beyond' meant and were quite amused that aircraft can be made lighter and that Solvay also works in agriculture - a field (pun intended) they're totally familiar with...all of them are from agrarian backgrounds.”
Allan Rodrigues, Solvay India Coordinator
To reach even more young women, the second event took the form of a Global Hackathon. Organized at a local school in Gujarat, close to our RIC center in Vadodara, we were able to reach over 160 girls aged 5-15 years old. This unique event gave the girls an opportunity to design sustainable innovations to confront water challenges faced in India, such as purification, transportation and storage.
In May 2022, Solvay teamed up with greenlight for girls (g4g) for a week-long Global Hackathon.
Circular principles are at the core of our future development. They are driving us to do better for our communities, our planet, ourselves and future generations. The hackathon aimed to tap into this by challenging 50 girls to create a sustainable future solution to benefit their communities. They were encouraged to learn about innovation while applying a circular economy and eco-conscious mindset and exploring the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the end of the event, we organized a broadcast, bringing together leadership from Solvay, g4g and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to recognize the most outstanding scientific inventions of the week and share in the spirit of invention and innovation. It was also an opportunity to connect the girls, who came from Spain, Belgium, Canada, the US, India, South Korea and Brazil, with exceptional role models and to the work that Solvay is doing to encourage STEM learning.
The girls’ inventions were judged across four categories and Veda Ramakrishnan, from India, was named as our Rising Star Grand Hackathon Winner. Her Oceanagen invention is inspired by the Hemodialysis machine, using osmosis to desalinate ocean water for a domestic household in Bangalore, India. It is designed to help solve some of the world’s water problems, by turning saltwater into potable drinking water.
The other prize winners were:
- Most Inventive Spirit: Nivedita Raj
- Most Sustainable Invention: Aashna Anand and Julia Wellner
- Most Engaging Voice: Yoon Lee and Erin Burm
- Most Community Impact: Anika Garg
- Most Relevant Invention: Marina Cioponea (Spain)
- Most Courageous Award: Emma Duran (Belgium)
- Most Enthusiastic Participation: Rhythm Rajyaguru (India)
- Most Dedicated Inventor: Corrine Yang (Canada)
Our past projects
In March 2019, we invited 50 girls to lead experiments in the XperiLAB. They discovered all of the secrets of sodium bicarbonate, used the truck's laboratories, tackled statistics with M&M’s and had an amazing tour of the Solvay labs around Batteries and Reverse Engineering.
In 2020, g4g joined our second edition of Solvay Citizen Day by helping us to launch a virtual library packed with STEM educational videos produced by Solvay’s employees. The goal is to educate, inspire and engage the communities around the world, to share Solvay employees’ expertise with the next generation of inventors, and to bond people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress!