Nov 19, 2019

Young Scientists for Africa - November 2019 Report

Edzani presents to his school in South Africa
Edzani presents to his school in South Africa

A BIG thank you again to all of you who have donated as part of our Global Giving fundraising campaign and changed the lives of young scientists in Africa. During the last quarter we have remained connected with our students as they have written reports about their time at the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) and have shared their experiences in their home communities. The benefit of attending LIYSF really comes to life in the detail of their reports and the way they have shared their experiences with their schools and across their communities.

MacDonald visited Oxford University, Imperial College, The Royal Institution, Airbus, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and the Alexander Fleming Laboratory during his time at LIYSF:

  • ‘These exclusive visit opportunities gave me deep insight into the broad, challenging and exciting life of a scientist which extends far beyond the research lab.’
  • ‘Presenting my project during the FameLab evening highlighted the importance of being able to effectively translate science to engage an audience who may not have a scientific background.’

He learned from his experiences at LIYSF and re-presented his project at the Climate Change programme run by Unicef Zimbabwe and Voices for Youth in September, where he wasawarded the Green Innovations Award by SNV Zimbabwe. In October MacDonaldreceived the First-place award in the Physical Science Category from the Young Scientist Journal. He has also been awarded a scholarship to continue his studies at the prestigious Africa Leadership Academy in South Africa where he intends to focus on Biomedical engineering.

The photo above shows Edzani presenting to his whole school of 2,536 students. Edzani is finishing his final exams and will be applying to University in January. He has highlighted in his report that:

  • ‘Around the globe we are all family, regardless of our skin colour and where we come from; whether our home background is a rich one or a poor one we are all one.’
  • ‘Africa is still a developing continent with scientists capable of great things for the whole of Africa, YoSA and LIYSF have helped provide me knowledge and inspiration to go on and do this.’

Phamela also spoke to her whole school of 1,100 students before finishing High School with multiple academic certificates, including being awarded the ‘Top Learner’ prize for her school for 2019. She has started a project with her friends teaching maths and science at one of her community primary schools. Inspired by LIYSF she has delivered 10 lessons and wants to pass on this inspiration to younger children and engage them with science from an early age. Phamela concludes her report by saying:

  • ‘LIYSF has changed my life and inspired me to pursue a career in STEM, the friendships and connections I have made will forever live within me.’

George is now at the University of Nairobi studying Environmental and Biosystems engineering. He is working on a project to reduce the rate of infant mortality by studying the level of sterility of breast milk. George reflected that:

  • ‘There were more than 500 participants attending LIYSF. This means over 500 ways of thinking, reasoning, cultures and different ways of tackling problems we encounter. LIYSF made it possible for me to interact, learn and network with these brains from different parts of the world.’
  • ‘Debate night gave me a voice as well as a platform to be heard. I was overwhelmed standing up and presenting my ideas in front of everyone, but it felt great when I saw everybody listen to me.’

All of the YoSA students at LIYSF this year were ‘flag bearers’ at the opening ceremony which took place in the presence of Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. They all state in their reports how tremendously proud they are of this honour and their scholarship to LIYSF as a whole and are all working hard to ensure it makes a lasting difference to their futures and that of their communities.

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Aug 22, 2019

Young Scientists for Africa - August 2019 Report

Macdonald discusses making electricity from biogas
Macdonald discusses making electricity from biogas

A BIG thank you again to all of you who donated as part of our GlobalGiving fundraising campaign before Christmas.  Our focus during this last quarter has been to finalise arrangements with our scholarship students before having the enormous pleasure of welcoming them to London for the 61st London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

We announced details of our scholarship students in our last report but we have a couple of updates here:

-          Due to last minute visa issues Rose from Tanzania was unable to travel to London but we are staying connected with Rose with a view to inviting her to LIYSF next year.

-          Working with one of our partners, Warwick in Africa, we were delighted to offer a scholarship to Phamela from South Africa who had recently taken part in a science EXPO presenting her research into snake venoms and their potential application in cancer treatments.

So the finalised list of our YoSA scholarship students for this year were George from Kenya, Edzani from South Africa, Macdonald from Zimbabwe and Phamela from South Africa.

The opening ceremony of this year’s LIYSF was attended by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal and the keynote address was given by President of the Royal Society and Nobel prize winning biologist Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan. YoSA students carried the flags of their countries at the ceremony and met with the special guests at the reception that followed.

They then threw themselves into an intensive two weeks of scientific and cultural exchange alongside 500 other students from 77 countries. The Forum provided a total of 44 lectures on a hugely broad range of science topics including astronomy, personalised medicine, machine learning, particle physics, solar cells and smart materials from some of the brightest minds in science including Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Sir Steven Cowley and Professor Jim Al Khalili.

55 visits were also on offer to world leading institutes and organisations including Airbus UK, UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, Jodrell Laboratory at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, National Physical Laboratory, Royal Institution and Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Macdonald and Edzani presented their own science projects at the Science Bazaar and Macdonald was selected to take part in the British Council ‘Famelab’ event the following evening, where he presented his project to all 500 students.

The YoSA students were also interviewed as part of a BBC World Service, Science In Action program which was broadcast during the Forum.

We met with the students regularly through the Forum and it was hugely inspiring to see the impact the experience was having on them both in terms of their science education but also in the connections they were making with other young scientists from all over the globe.

Alongside the scholarship students for this year, LIYSF welcomed back three YoSA students from prior years as staff ambassadors to help run the event; Ammy (Kenya) and Christa (Rwanda) who were sponsored in 2017 and Gracious (Tanzania) who was sponsored in 2018.  Whilst Gracious relished the opportunity to attend new science institutes, Ammy and Christa further developed their leadership skills.  Christa, who now works as a qualified pharmacist, noted that her employer was happy to support her involvement at LIYSF as the management skills she was bringing back to the company in Rwanda were immediately leading to improvements in their procedures.

As part of the condition of the scholarship all students are required to submit a written report of their experiences at the Forum and deliver a presentation to their school/college back in their local community. We are looking forward to reporting on these activities as part of our next quarterly report, as well as their plans for their continued careers in science.

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May 23, 2019

Young Scientists for Africa - May 2019 Report

2018 YoSA Student, Gracious, receiving an award
2018 YoSA Student, Gracious, receiving an award

A BIG thank you again to all of you who donated as part of our Global Giving fundraising campaign before Christmas. We have been working hard over the last quarter to identify deserving students to attend the London International Youth Science Forum in 2019.

Following nominations from our partners operating locally in Africa, we have now confirmed Scholarship awards for four students and expect to confirm a fifth student scholarship shortly. The confirmed YoSA scholarship students for this year are:

Rose from Tanzania – Rose was an award winner at Young Scientists of Tanzania in 2016 with her research on the possible reasons for the persistence of cholera in local water supply despite the government’s efforts to overcome the disease and established the STEM club at her school.

George from Kenya – George has been inspired to follow a career in medical science after recognising the need for improved medical diagnostics during the illness of a close family member. George supports an initiative to bring children in his community back into education and has secured a place at university in Kenya to study BioSystems.

Edzani from South Africa – Edzani was the winner of a ‘Bright Young Leaders’ initiative in his community with his creation of a 5-in-1 mechanical robot which operates using air and water to perform basic agricultural functions for farmers to save them using more expensive fuel based machinery.

Macdonald from Zimbabwe – Macdonald was inspired by a visit to his Grandmother’s rural village to create electricity from bio-gas. Macdonald worked with his science club at school and found that a local plant contained the right bacteria to create a bio-gas, which generates electricity by heating a thermoelectric module.

We have interviewed each of the scholarship award winners and are very excited that they will be able to share their science stories with the rest of the world and take fresh insights back to their local communities to support their ambitions to make a difference in Africa through science.

Our YoSA scholarship students from 2017 and 2018 continue to develop their science careers. Ammy from Kenya, who attended LIYSF in 2017 and returned as a student ambassador in 2018, continues to help needy children with their education when she is not studying and has recently accepted the role of YoSA Alumni Champion, responsible for supporting us in keeping all our scholarship students connected and aware of development opportunities. Whilst Gracious from Tanzania has just received an award to turn his automated mosquito net innovation into a marketable product and has confirmed that he will return to LIYSF in 2019 as a staff ambassador.

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