August 7, 2016 - 105 high school students from across Africa are spending the next two weeks at Ashesi as participants of the Ashesi Innovation Experience (AIX) 2016. In its third year, the high school enrichment program will give the attendees an opportunity to experience college-level learning, develop connections across high schools and develop their leadership capacity.

As part of the program, they will take part in workshops, lectures and activities to equip them with skills in design thinking and problem solving, entrepreneurship, robotics programming and engineering, under the guidance and mentorship of Ashesi faculty and students. This year, mentors for the programme include students from the University of California, Berkeley, and the the College of Wooster. 

“We want to help turn on their minds; to expand their vision of what they think they can do, what they think is possible and what they think they are capable of,” said Dr. Ayorkor Korsah, Project Lead at AIX. “We hope to give them some concrete skills in terms of critical thinking and creativity, and for them to appreciate each other while working in teams with respect to their values and diversity. Most importantly, I hope the participants have a fun and transformative experience.”

Overall, the participants were selected out of a competitive pool of 287 applicants. With 54% of the participants being women, this year’s AIX also welcomes students from Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. In the first of its kind, US-based organization Jewels of Africa Foundation sponsored nine participants to be part of the programme.

“Jewels of Africa is focused on creating more opportunities for students from underprivileged schools and areas in Africa,” said Anjola Badaru, Program Management Coordinator at Jewels of Africa Foundation. “We are always on the lookout for avenues, opportunities or institutions that will expose our students to entrepreneurship, leadership and vocational skills, and we found that AIX and Ashesi have that in their own values as well.”

AIX, held annually, is sponsored by The Mastercard Foundation. To follow this year’s program, check out updates on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AIX2016 or #AshesiX. Visit the blog as well to read personal reflections from the participants.