On 2nd December 2015, GhScientific in collaboration with the Ghana Science Association launched the Shaping Healthy Attitudes and Protecting the Environment (SHAPE) project at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. The objective of the project is to show that good things happen when the science community engages with students and the general public.
The project challenged 8 Junior High School teams from 16 schools namely; Nativity Presby Basic School, Gaku International School, Weija Presby JHS, St. Maurice R/C A & B JHS, Garrison Basic School, St Joseph’s the Worker, Weija Methodist 1, 2 & 3, Light of the World school complex, Gbawe cluster of schools and La Anglican 1 & 2 to design innovative solutions to health conditions with environmental triggers.
The teams are: The Sparkling Stars of Science, The Blessed Blue Kings, Scholars of Nativity, The Eco-Warriors, Agents of Change, Brainstormers, Youth Environment Activists and St.Maurice Champions. The teams were then paired with scientists to serve as mentors and undergraduates/postgraduates to serve as ambassadors to support the pupils.
Over the last 12 months, the teams have undergone various training workshops run by volunteers from Google. These workshops comprised presentation skills, data collection, project management and the scientific method for conducting research among others. They also embarked on field trips to develop ideas, collect data and conduct surveys from destinations such as the Ghana Atomic Energy, Noguchi and the Mallam Market as well as various beaches where they collected and tested water samples.
The project came to a close at a presentation ceremony which took place at the Ghana Institution of Engineers, where the teams showcased their work to peers, members of the public, head teachers and special invited quests. Professor Elsie Kauffmann from the University of Ghana gave a talk on the Future of Innovation, as a follow up to the opening talk by Ms. Diana Akrong of Cobalt Partners on the Importance of Innovation and Creativity.
The projects on display from the 8 teams were:
- The Effect of Carbon Cycle Disruptions (The Sparkling Stars of Science)
- Impact of Poor Human Waste Disposal (The Blessed Blue Kings)
- You Are What You Breathe (Scholars of Nativity)
- Alternative Solid Waste Management (The Eco-Warriors)
- A Story of Water, Waste and Market Places (Agents of Change)
- Creating Sustainable Environment Clubs (Brainstormers)
- Alternative Approaches to Reducing the Impact of Mosquitoes on Health (Youth Environment Activists)
- Air Pollution In Urban Communities (St.Maurice Champions)
Giving the Welcome address, Dr Thomas Tagoe, the Shape project coordinator and Operations Officer at GhScientific commended the students for the good work done and said: “The work produced by the students is proof that given the right opportunity, Ghanaian students can be just as innovative as students anywhere else in the world. We are on the way to finding the next Einstein.”
At the end of the project presentations, awards were given for the Most Practical Project, the Most Innovative Project and the Best Poster Presentation. The Best Teacher award went to Mrs. Helen Asamoah of the Gbawe Cluster of Schools for her relentless support and dedication to ensure her students made the most of the experience.
Closing the event, Hephzi Angela Tagoe, Co-founder and CEO of GhScientific said, “It’s beautiful to see how far the teams have come and the standard of projects that have been presented. This is exactly what we set out to achieve and we’re positive that all participants have been equipped to impact their communities through the Shape project. “
The SHAPE Project was kindly funded by the Wellcome Trust, UK.