Member Spotlight: University Women’s Association Singapore
University Women’s Association (Singapore) or UWAS, was inaugurated in August 1996 and is a member of SCWO. UWAS is also part of the National Federation of Associations (NFA) of the Graduate Women International (GWI) HQ in Geneva and has members in more than 60 countries worldwide.
UWAS’s mission is to improve the status of women and girls; to promote lifelong education and to enable graduate women to use their expertise to effect change through education.
In line with Singapore’s Bi-centennial and GWI’s Centenary Celebration, UWAS hosted a special event “An Intergenerational Exchange” graced by President Halimah Yacob to Celebrate our Women’s Contribution to the Nation.
The event was held on 16 November 2019 and attended by more than 100 members and guests.
UWAS was privileged to receive Singapore’s President Halimah Yacob to our celebration.
Our Founding Chair, Dr Rosemary Khoo, recalled the first ten years of contributions as UWAS worked hard to build the morale, self-esteem and confidence of women by equipping them with leadership skills and a global outlook. Our current President, Irene Boey, continued and emphasized that as UWAS continues to renew itself, we stayed true to our mission and expanded our focus to include technology, community and entrepreneurship. We continued with workshops and teach technology to our merdeka and pioneer generation as well as started many meaningful projects. It was a joyous day for UWAS to showcase our past and current projects for the underprivileged.
In addition to event, UWAS projects and activities are organised with the aim to enable progress for Girls, Youth, Women and the community through Education.
1) Girls :
As we believed that children is our future and their education foundation is key for them to progress in their education journey, we offered the UWAS program for children free of charge to underprivileged families. This program focuses on improving education foundation for English literacy and Numeracy especially on problem solving to enable girls (aged 6 to 12) from underprivileged families to gain confidence through classroom training, educational activities, learning journeys and special workshops. Some of these include attending 3D printing workshop to learn to do 3D printing to make “robots” , Microbit workshop to learn to code and make simple step tracker; Biofuel workshop to make own biofuel, Smart Thinking Workshop to learn how to achieve more in less time as well as computer lessons and ICT workshops. This program has been running successfully for more than 5 years and helped more than 300 children. Next run starts February 2020.
In order not to be restricted by location of training, the Student Enrichment Program (SEP) was initiated last year. SEP is offered to students especially girls to enable them to have confidence in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) as research found that the percentage of female interested in STEM is much lower than male, it is important for UWAS to improve this situation.
In line with smart nation, SEP leverages on Artificial Intelligence to discover an individual’s weaknesses, as well as human mentors from Ngee Ann Polytechnic to guide students accordingly. We have completed pilot test in primary schools and found that the result has been positive.
2) Youth :
Members in our youth wing gained practical experience through assisting teachers and more experienced volunteers in our UWAS programs. We have more than 50 youth members whom are actively working in our program for Children, Student Enrichment program and School Agricultural program and they have gained valuable experience and knowledge in these programs as part of their growing process.
3) Women :
a) Other than hosting the International Federation of University Women’s Regional meeting in Singapore, UWAS started a Smart Workshops Series to provide education to its members. The first of these workshops taught participants how to make a simple step tracker and digital game with an accelerometer using micro bits.
b) Women Entrepreneurs Group (WEG) was formed last year to provide our members with useful knowledge to improve their business, health and themselves. Workshops and events were organized to support women entrepreneurs to expand their network and knowledge. Some of these include Work Life Balance how to achieve more in less time; ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs in the Age of Industry 4.0 and UWAS’ Intergenerational Exchange in celebration of women’s contribution to the nation. The aim is for WEG to grow through Synergistic collaboration, Entrepreneurial Coaching as well as leveraging on our network.
4) UWAS Programme for Inmates has been rolled out since 2010 as a collaboration project with SCORE. Since then, we have upgraded this program to equip pre-release inmates with current employable skillsets by empowering inmates with elementary technology skillsets through basic computer program. We continue to inculcate money management skills to inmates and included the long term employability program whereby inmates are taught to treasure and the appreciate the jobs from employers whom are willing to give them a 2nd chance.
As a result, UWAS members also gain valuable insights through their participation as mentors and volunteers in this programme.
UWAS continues to renew itself and we welcome you to join us to make an impact.
UWAS continues to provide :
- a global voice for women graduates in international policy-making settings
- study grants open to members;
- international conferences, workshops and seminars;
- programmes and projects to assist women and girls;
- networks linking members from different countries through GWI and SCWO.
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