In an increasingly digitized world, cultivating a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mindset is crucial to mint a new generation of makers who understand unmet global needs. One partnership is looking to do that by building bridges between U.S. and southern African kids to give STEM skills a boost.Using after-school programs or “clubs,” Design Squad Global (DSG), an online hub, matches U.S. kids 8-13-years-old with their counterparts in Swaziland, Botswana and South Africa to design engineering projects, collaborate, and gain an understanding of each other.“We have eight sites in southern Africa and eight sites in the U.S. where … after-school programs have been matched up,” said DSG Executive Producer Marisa Wolsky in an interview.The south African region, while recognizing the importance of early STEM education for economic growth and global competitiveness, has “a critical lack of curriculum time, teaching expertise and resources for STEM,” said DSG’s Southern African Facilitator Dylan Busa in an email.DSG promotes “global competency” and gives kids “the engineering skills they need,” said Wolsky. But its priority is to expose children to the design process and teach them how to solve related problems. “There are many solutions to a problem rather than one right answer,” she said. “That’s another big thing we try to promote.”The 10-week program is the result of a partnership between Boston’s public broadcaster WGBH, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the global development organization FHI360.FHI360, which maintains a presence in 60 low-to-middle-income countries and helps to identify local needs and feasible solutions for DSG, is piloting programs to provide kids in southern Africa with more STEM opportunities.