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Nov 29, 2017

Mobilising, regrouping and strategising

Portable outdoor equipment
Portable outdoor equipment

After a successful 7 week  Biology pilot programme run in the Mobile Science Lab, it was time to go back to the drawing board. Lessons left from these pilot sessions have been taken on board and adjustments made to the curriculum and how we run things.  This third term is a busy term with National and International examinations and the Mobile Laboratory has sat empty but not idle!  We have used this time to sort equipment, obtain equipment needed and put better systems in place.

 

Developments

A new storage room was built on the verandah of Resource Centre (as seen in the pictures below) to allow proper storage and labelling of all the apparatus and locking away safely of all chemicals. We could not have done this without the generous donations both locally and from GlobalGiving. We have also be able to purchase two gazebo tents to sit under for our out door lesson time, as well as proper folding outside tables and benches that store beautifully in the lab when all packed up. This will allow us to carry on with outside lessons even during the rainy season.  Please note that expenditure is in US$.

 

The Maker Club

We had a Makomborero Camp which brought together all the internal and external students. During one of the days, we had The Maker Club, which is an organisation that teaches young people to apply their technical knowledge practically, run a robotics and leadership workshop. A fantastic full day was run and our students all took part in making 4 four-legged robots. Days like this confirm our desire to see all students in Zimbabwe access knowledge that is not only theoretical but practical too.  

 

Going Forward

Our Science Teacher, Tongai is busy packing and preparing the storage room according to the experiments for the next sessions.  With so much incredible equipment at our disposal, having it well ordered and knowing what is needed for what lessons will help us to fully utilise all that we have been donated.  Recruitment of the students will take place as soon as schools open in January. We expect an overwhelming response as there have been a lot of enquiries about when the next sessions kick off. Parents of the previous students have been impressed by the growing interest in their children towards the Science subjects and we loved seeing their beaming faces as they made the connections with theory and practical work!

 

We are excited to see what the new year holds with the Mobile Science Lab.  We are thrilled to say that we have received an incredible off line donation which will see the close of this campaign for the next 6 months!  So thank you to all of you who have made this dream a reality.  We will run two sessions per Saturday during the first term of 2018 and look forward to seeing an increase in sessions each term!

New Storeroom
New Storeroom
Shelving inside the storeroom
Shelving inside the storeroom
The Maker Club
The Maker Club
Testing the robot
Testing the robot

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Oct 25, 2017

Makomborero students shine throughout!

Gateway Prize Giving Day
Gateway Prize Giving Day

The lovely purple bloom of the Jacaranda trees in Zimbabwe is a sure sign of the beginning of the Examination season. Exams are indeed in progress and we wish all our students, all the best.

Term 3 is marked by Speech and Prize-giving functions for all the schools we partner with and we are always proud to see our students being honoured for their achievements, both academically and in extracurricular activities. It was prizes galore at Gateway High School with 4 of our students (Belinda, Ruramai, Kuda and Shyline) all scooping academic prizes. Taku also at Gateway came 4th in the Zimbabwean Maths Olympiad.  Well done to all of you!

Munya and Chiko won prizes at St Georges. It’s heart-warming to watch these boys grow and flourish in their new learning environment.

Another special Prize Giving evening at Hellenic Academy too, Chenai and Donald both received academic prizes.  Donald, L6th student, was made Prefect at Hellenic. He becomes the 4th Makomborero Prefect; we have had 2 at Hellenic, 1 at St Georges and 1 at Gateway. We are so proud of him.  It’s often hard for our students’ leadership abilities to be recognised only 9 months into their new school, as they make huge cultural adjustments so when they do stand out we are super proud and excited.

Recruiting is underway for 2018!  We are in the process of collecting Application forms from schools and individuals for our 2018 students.  We can't believe it is that time of year again!

 

Students’ updates

Four (4) of our Lower 6th students qualified for the Yale Africa Initiative. Shyline and Roy went to Rwanda; Kuda travelled to Uganda and Isabel attended the session in Zimbabwe. This was a great opportunity for them to learn and interact with their peers from different countries.

We bid farewell to 6 students off to start university life internationally and locally (4 students) at the UZ and NUST.

We celebrated our first two UZ graduates Simba and Terrence and incredibly both have been able to secure their first jobs.  Simba is a Pharmacist at a major referral hospital and Terrence will be working for a big engineering group. Brian also graduated from NUST as an Actuarial Scientist with UK qualifications too.  We are still hoping he will find a job soon.  So proud of these young men.

It’s always great having our past students around on their holidays back in Zim. This last month we had Tinashe Z, a 4th-year Computer Engineering student at Izmir Institute of Technology in Turkey.  During his time in Zim, he has been interning at Women’s University in Africa in their department of Information Technology. 

 

Mobile Science Lab

We completed our first 7-week Biology pilot Sessions in our Mobile Science Laboratory. It was learning curve but also such an awesome opportunity to see students doing the practical side of their Biology syllabus. We thank Tongai our Science teacher and his assistant Stuart for leading the sessions. Our students, both past and present volunteered throughout in setting up and in the running of the programme.  We look forward to welcoming many, many more students in our Mobile Science Lab.

 

Makomborero Camp

We were able to hold a 3-day camp at our Resource Centre for our internal and external students.  This was a great opportunity for our students to bond and build deep lasting relationships, as well as hopefully learn something!

The programme started with Community service at a rural school 60kms east of Harare. The school Head was very grateful for our effort in improving their pupils' learning experience by painting all their blackboards, including the wooden boards used outside for lessons under the trees. The newly painted boards surely bring a glimmer of hope to some of the most marginalised communities in Zimbabwe!

Our Students also had a fantastic day with the Maker Club, making 4 legged robotic walkers, as well as various leadership sessions. During one of the evening sessions, students were challenged to present on how bringing life to Sustainable Development Goals for Africa is possible and how they can impact their communities. This was an incredibly inspiring evening! The last day of camp ended with a birthday party for all of the students with some great games. 

 

Fundraising

During September we held 2 events, a Music and Arts Concert organised by Tinashe one of our pioneer students and a fantastic Open-air Movie screening of SING in partnership with Openair Cinemas. We thank Hellenic Academy for their great support in both events and everyone who managed to attend. In these hard economic times every little count. We also thank our wonderful GlobalGiving family for their continued support in making the work of Makomborero possible. So many individuals give so generously.

 

Upcoming Events

We are extremely pleased to invite you to join us to get Up Close and Personal with Makomborero. This year, our event will be held at the Institute of Directors on the 21st November and will give guests the opportunity to meet two of Zimbabwe's finest exports - Charlegne and Prince.  These two Makomborero success stories are now both studying at Edinburgh University on Mastercard scholarships. We also look forward to our Annual Graduation Ceremony in Harare, as we say goodbye to the class of 2017 and the end of year Christmas party for all our students.

4 legged Robot
4 legged Robot
Donald Prefect at Hellenic
Donald Prefect at Hellenic
Community service
Community service
Charlegne and Prince  at Edinburgh University
Charlegne and Prince at Edinburgh University
Makomborero
Makomborero's Pharmacist: Simba
Engineer Tinashe Z.
Engineer Tinashe Z.

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Aug 31, 2017

Report on science mobile laboratory pilot run

Microscope familiarisation
Microscope familiarisation

July 1 2017 marked the official launch of the 7 - week Mobile Science Laboratory Pilot  Project. The Pilot programme was a composite of Biology practicals that were done over a period of 8 weeks. 6 schools were represented from the high density areas and students from the Home School community added diversity to the group. This was the 1st time for many students to be in a laboratory, so it came with a lot of excitement. We are so grateful to our alumni and current students for volunteering throughout the sessions. Many thanks Tongai our Science Teacher and Stuart his Assistant for all the preparation work and delivery of the lessons.  Our deepest gratitude goes to all our sponsors who made the running of the mobile laboratory possible. It has been a learning curve for Makomborero. Here is what Tongai had to say about the pilot project.

 Lesson delivery

With the laboratory being fully equipped the students were able to carry out the practical experiments to full detail without any improvisions. The laboratory has a capacity of 15 students and this is the number that was consistent during the sessions. The practicals were held on Saturdays starting at 9am finishing at 11am. This involved a 30 minutes lesson to introduce a bit of  background for the day's practical experiment. After the introduction, pupils would carry out a practical that was split into two halves each being 40 minutes with a 5 minutes snack break. The last section was a clean up that would take up to 5 minutes and helped the pupils understand the importance of safe disposal of the reagents. Reflective sessions were also held after each pratical on the industrial application of the knowledge gained.Every week, pupils would switch partner so as to learn different things from each other

 

Performance during the practicals

During the first two weeks the practicals seemed very difficult for most of the students because they were not familiar with the instrumentation and how best to utilize them so as to obtain the most significant results. Most pupils lacked confidence in carrying out the practicals but became better as time went on.

After the third week most of the students were very comfortable and this was definitely due to the fact that the confidence and zeal of other students had rubbed onto the rest of the class. As the students became more confident even their execution of practicals became finer. Generally all the students managed to obtain expected results and from the worksheets, it was clear that the objective of the practicals was well understood.

 

CHALLENGES IDENTIFIED

There is need for more  learning aids so as to help understand better during the introductory 1st 30 minutes lesson . Whenever a practical is conducted it may be necessary to use aids that are complimentary to that practical . It was also very difficult to carry out the pre - runs prior to the Saturday session because of the limited resources and time. It was a challenge sourcing other chemicals  due to availability in the country. Alternatives had to be used.However, all the practicals went out the way that they were expected although it is general lab routine to carry out pre-runs. The mid year examinations meant some of the pupils missed out on sessions. 

 

CONCLUSION

The pilot project of the science mobile laboratory was very successful in that it created a more detailed Zimbabwean scientist. Tongai, being a teacher from one of the schools represented , also noted the difference in the interest and perfomance of students who were participated in the pilot project as compared to those who did not take part in the sessions. It is our hope that with more funding we would be able to give more students access to science pratical experiments.

Girls at work
Girls at work
Girls at work
Girls at work

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