Science students seeking to address challenges faced by communities in poorer countries of the world were celebrated at a recent virtual event hosted by Self Help Africa in collaboration with Irish Aid.
Ten hand-picked student projects from last spring’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) were featured at the showcase event, which was presented before an online audience that included the Minister for Overseas Development and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, and to a panel of guest scientists and experts.
Amongst the projects to take part were the winners of this year’s Irish Aid sponsored Science for Development Award at the BTYSTE, Salome Maher Bordalo and Sophie McElligott from St. Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School, Navan, along with the 2019 winner of the prize, Sean Byrne from Wicklow.
Amongst the projects showcased were Salome and Sophie’s winning project that developed sanitary pads and looked at the challenges of menstruation for women in the developing world. Other student projects featured addressed aspects of soil fertility, using waste water for irrigating vegetables, how orange peel waste could be used as fertilizer, and how urban waste might be tackled in developing countries.
The event included a ‘virtual’ tour of the headquarters of the Dept of Foreign Affairs – Iveagh House – where the annual showcase was originally scheduled to take place before the coronavirus pandemic. The event also featured contributions by the founder of the BT Young Scientist Exhibition Dr. Tony Scott, by climate change and environmental journalist John Gibbons, and by Self Help Africa’s senior agricultural advisor, Paul Wagstaff.
Minister for Overseas Development & Diaspora Colm Brophy commended the diverse student projects for how they sought answers to some of the challenges facing communities in other parts of the globe. Mr Brophy said that young people, and science, had an important role to play in addressing the issues that faced people living in poverty.
Órla McBreen, Director of Civil Society and Development Education at Irish Aid expressed her regret that the students could not join them in person at Iveagh House this year, but said that the online conference illustrated how we had all found ways alternate ways to communicate and engage with each other in the current pandemic.
For more information about the Self Help Africa/Irish Aid Science for Development Award visit: https://selfhelpafrica.org/ie/education/global-student/science-for-development/