HbAM’s current work focuses on promoting gender equity in health and uplifting STEM education. In the summer of 2019, 4W scholar Mengyao Niu led a team of UW graduate and undergraduate students in developing a commercially available, affordable, and portable paper microscope (foldscope). Foldscopes were used to teach basic science education to women and girls in thirteen villages in Kwale County, Kenya: Lunga Lunga, Godo, Perani, Umoja, Maasailand, Jirani, Mpakani, Tsuini, Mgombesi, Juakali, Kidomaya, Ngweneni, and Pangani. HbAM is working to train secondary-school girls in community health and science to achieve the following objectives:
• Increase girls’ long-term interest in science and build their confidence in STEM subjects in school.
• Increase girls’ pursuit of science careers by teaching a simplified process of scientific discovery (studying soil with the foldscope, observing soil microorganisms, and isolating antibiotic-producing bacteria).
• Introduce healthcare careers and viable paths to pursue them.
• Deepen girls’ knowledge of community needs and basic barriers to obtaining quality health.