Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills

by MindAfrica Leadership Initiative
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Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
Empower Nigerian Students With STEM Skills
STEM Inquiry-based projects and competitions
STEM Inquiry-based projects and competitions

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses are fundamental to solving the challenges of today and the future. At MindAfrica, we believe every young student irrespective of social or economic background deserves a world-leading STEM education, one that engages and nurtures their unique talents, and provides the knowledge and skills they will need to participate fully as the creators and responsible citizens of tomorrow. That was the context with which this project was designed and implemented.

During the project’s life cycle from 2017 to 2018, MindAfrica implemented a series of STEM-focused workshops as  in-school and out-of-school events which engaged 140 students from economically disadvantaged schools, who did not have opportunities to participate in technology-rich, inquiry-based learning programs. The approach employed the innovative use of technology to strengthen students’ knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communication technology (ICT) careers. This project built student’s design thinking skills by prototyping solutions to real problems in Energy, Security, and Environmental Waste.

Impact

In evaluating the impact of this program on under-resourced, underserved students, we collected and evaluated self-reported evidence from participants including teachers and instructors, student achievement data and internally commissioned evaluations which provided a comprehensive report of immediate and long term outcomes summarized as follows:

  • Economically disadvantaged students developed STEM-specific disciplinary knowledge and practices that promote critical thinking, collaboration, problem-solving and communication skills that are required for entering the STEM and ICT workforce of the future
  • Low-income students have gained confidence through mentorship with STEM career role models and have been motivated to pursue higher education pathways to these occupations.
  • Increased awareness and interest of STEM and ICT-related careers for underserved students, particularly girls.

This concluding report showcases the positive impact that the program had, with evidence that it helped economically disadvantaged students by sparking their enthusiasm and boosting their achievement in STEM courses.

Funding

The intended project budget was estimated at $27,000 for a 2-year program but MindAfrica was only able to raise a total of $10,228 due to an economic downturn that affected majority of our donors. The sum of $379 was raised on the GlobalGiving platform while the sum of $9,849 was raised through local partnerships in the form of in-kind services and direct financial contributions in Nigerian currency.

We are deeply grateful to our donors who supported us in this project and we look forward to your continued support for other MindAfrica projects on GlobalGiving. For more information about MindAfrica, visit our website - http://www.mindafrica.org   

Hands-on STEM experiences
Hands-on STEM experiences
Technology-rich, inquiry-based learning
Technology-rich, inquiry-based learning
Bridging gender inequalities in STEM education
Bridging gender inequalities in STEM education
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Students construct a locally made soap mixer
Students construct a locally made soap mixer

Advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is an important focus for MindAfrica. As a developing country, we know firsthand the importance of raising a future workforce that would give us the technological advantage to compete in the global economy. That is the reason we are committed to providing enrichment STEM activities to underserved students, to strengthen their interest and confidence in pursuing STEM education and careers.

This report features the ingenuity of some young students in Oginigba Community Secondary School in Port Harcourt, Nigeria who are keen on generating new ideas and solving problems in their community. Their latest invention – a local soap mixer, is designed to reduce the production time in soap making by women in their community.

Manual production of liquid soap has become a gainful means of self-employment for low-income women in Oginigba community. Their products are sold at cheaper rates than the market price for industrially produced soap and the demand is quite high. However, due to a rigorous production process, production rates tend to drop over time, making them unable to meet the rising demand. These women cannot afford industrial machines and use basic implements such as a 60-litre vessel for mixing their ingredients, a spartle, weighing scales and thermometer to check temperature. The local soap production requires them to manually stir the mixture of ingredients speedily with a wooden spartle to prevent it from congealing or forming lumps. This exerts a lot of energy from the women and over time, limits the quantity of soap they are able to produce in a day.

To proffer a solution to this challenge, a team of students in the STEM enrichment program invented a prototype low-cost mixer fabricated from a plastic drum, wooden stand and a metal spartle connected to several electrical components including motor blades that are powered by electricity. Though dependent on electricity, this locally-made mixer has the capacity to produce more soap that the manual method, they say. It limits the physical rigors, is faster and more efficient. Still a prototype, the local mixer is still being tested and enhanced in the school lab.

We are extremely excited at how STEM education is preparing these students for life. We know that regardless of the profession they choose to follow, this exposure is teaching them how to think critically and how to solve problems.

MindAfrica is immensely grateful for your support and how it has helped us to impact the lives of young Nigerians. We value every gift and we hope for your continuous support. If you are glad about the difference you are making through our project, consider sharing this report with your circle of friends and family.

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Organization Information

MindAfrica Leadership Initiative

Location: Port Harcourt, Rivers State - Nigeria
Website:
Olere Iluebbey
Project Leader:
Olere Iluebbey
Port Harcourt, Rivers State Nigeria

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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