Founded in 2009 and endorsed by the Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa, Southern African Women in Aviation & Aerospace Industry (SAWIA) is a registered non-profit organisation (NPO) and public benefit organisation (PBO) dedicated to the empowerment of women in the aviation and aerospace industry in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. 

By establishing a forum that creates access to more experienced industry professionals, affording aspiring aviatrix the chance to exchange ideas, network and develop relationships crucial to career success, SAWIA aspires to be the primary network for established and aspiring female aviation professionals in the SADC region.

SAWIA’s Girl Fly Programme in Africa (GFPA) is an information and skills development STEM education programme for high school learners who have an interest in the aviation and aerospace industry. The education programme is designed to expose young women (and the public) to a world of opportunities, while highlighting the achievements of women in aviation and aerospace.

25 April 2016. GFPA 2016 Aviation and Space camp
GFPA 2016 camp changed lives fullstop

The 2016 GFPA Aviation and Space camp, held at the Paramount Conference & Adventure Centre during the 19th and 24th March 2016,  was a fun-filled yet highly technical experience, with a focus on promoting and encouraging the learners to pursue STEM education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. 

The camp offered learners exposure to Delta Darts building, flight simulator training,  a robotics workshop, the manufacturing and design-side of aviation, hot air balloons, excercise and obstacle courses to build team spirit and self-esteem, drones in action, paragliding, a career workshop, and a gala dinner and prizegiving ceremony to close off the awesome week. 

SAWIA would like to thank all the volunteers, mentors, SAWIA team, and the following who helped ensure the 2016 Aviation and Space Camp took flight:  Paramount Conference & Adventure CentreAirports Company South Africa (ACSA) (platinum sponsor), SA Express and Air Traffic and Navigation Services SOC Limited (ATNS) (gold sponsors), Acumen Software and The ExecuJet Aviation Group (bronze sponsors), and the following blue sponsors, exhibitors and organisations:  Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), African Pilot magazine Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa, SRS AviationAfrica People Mover (APM), A'Dare Women Wellness Centre, Recreation Aviation Administration South Africa (RAASA), AeroClub Transformation & Development, Jonkers Sailplane, Blue Gravity, Camsat Pro, Advance Aerial, Roger Hardie,  Skymasters, SuckaV, South African Police Service AirwingSouth African National Space Agency, South African Airways, SAFTA (Vukani Aviation), AVIC International Flight Training Academy (AIFA) and m a n t a r a y design studio.

GFPA 2017 camp

The 2017 GFPA Aviation and Space camp application forms will be available to download on our website from November 2016.

I was a camper at the recent GFPA 2016 Aviation & Space camp, and would like to express my gratitude towards the instructors and SAWIA.  I got to make new friends, from all kinds of backgrounds, and it truly humbled me. Each and every one of those girls that I got to know, hunger for a different future and all seemed pretty determined to get there. I hope that one day, when I am a fully trained pilot, I get to come back and be someone the girls at future camps look up to. Thank you so much to the SAWIA team! Lurayi Ndyebo, GFPA 2016 Aviation & Space camper

25 April 2016. Scholarships
Call for applications for the the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa Fellowships

Closing date: 29 April 2016 

Just 4 DAYS to go before applications for the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science 2016 Sub-Saharan Africa Fellowships close! Visit for more information and to apply.

The L'Oréal Foundation has launched the 7th edition of the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Sub-Saharan Africa Fellowships to support young women scientists. 

  • 12 Fellowships of € 5,000 each, will be granted to 12 African Ph.D. Students enrolled in an African University 
  • 2 Fellowships of € 10,000 each, will be granted to 2 African postdoctoral researchers working in a laboratory or research institute registered in one of the region's countries.

Each year the  the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National and Regional programmes represent:

  • Over 6,500 applications.
  • 250 talented young women scientists granted Fellowships to pursue promising research projects.
  • 47 programs covering 112 countries.
  • 44 prestigious partners among the highest scientific authorities in their countries.
  • Over 350 international scientists participated in selecting the National and Regional fellows.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Having obtained a PhD degree in Life or Physical Sciences or pursuing studies leading to a PhD degree.
  • Having the nationality of a Sub-Saharan African country.
  • Working in a Research Laboratory or Institution in one of the region's countries or being enrolled in a doctoral programme at a University in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Candidates must be no more than 40 years old by the end of the application period for PhD and not more than 45 years for post-doctoral.
History of the For Women in Science international programme

In 1998, L’Oréal and UNESCO initiated FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE, an international programme to recognise, encourage and promote women in science. It is inspired by two main goals: to honour established women researchers in all fields of Science, and to help young women researchers with promising research projects. 
The programme consists of three levels; the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards, awarded to five leading women researchers, one per continent, who are identified as role models; the L’Oréal-UNESCO International Fellowships, awarded to 15 young doctorate or post doctorate women to encourage international scientific cooperation and the development of cross-cultural networks and lastly, the L’Oréal National and Regional Fellowships which anchor the For Women in Science programme in countries around the world. 

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Maya Angelou

Regional Fellowship in Sub-Saharan Africa

The L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science partnership started a new and exciting chapter in 2010 with the introduction of the For Women in Science Regional Fellowships in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Arab States. 
This new chapter is an extension of the National Fellowship programmes, which now exist in 47 countries where the presence of a L'Oréal subsidiary assures the management and promotion of the program. The objective of the new Regional Fellowship is to bring our support to young women pursuing scientific careers in dozens of other countries throughout the world. 
The program is organized in partnership with the L'Oréal Foundation, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in Africa, the African Network of Scientific Institutions (ANSTI), and L'Oréal Sub-Saharan Africa. 
One of the goals of the initiative is to promote and support scientific vocations among young women. The L'Oréal Foundation and UNESCO give ten women the opportunity to win the fellowships in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

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