In partnership with The M-PESA Foundation Academy and The Travelling Telescope, The Airbus Foundation recently launched their ‘Little Engineer’ Program in Kenya. The Airbus Foundation is an International group that aims at supporting aid organizations in various countries. One of the major pillars the foundation is set upon is the continuous empowerment of youth by supporting and sharing their passion for science and aeronautics. This will, in turn, help them to overcome challenges they may face in the future.
The Travelling Telescope is a Kenyan based astronomy project that means to promote science through astronomy. They seek to engage people from all over and get them to be passionate about space exploration. They visit both public and private schools with the largest telescope in Kenya and their mobile planetarium which simulates a view of our sky.
The Initiative which was launched at the M-PESA Foundation Academy aims at encouraging students between the age of 10 and 16 to understand and embrace technology and ignite the passion that could grow into an exciting career in the fields of (STEM) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM essentially works by cultivating an interest in the natural and social sciences in schools. It is often introduced in high school level. It broadens the study of engineering and technology within the other existing subjects. This peaks the interest of young generation about all matters to do with science, technology, math or engineering. It also allows students to understand how the things in the world around them work.
This, in turn, will widen the pool of the number of scientists, engineering or experts in the technological field. STEM is believed to be the key to innovation since it stimulates the mind at a very young age. As is in many countries, the youth in Kenya is the future of the nation. Their innovative skills lead to the development of small and medium enterprises which contribute 33.8% of GDP and make up 81.1% of employment opportunities in the country. So there is need to nurture and hone this skills through training and education.
The Little Engineer program initially launched in 2012 will help facilitate access to STEM skills by providing discovery-based learning and enlightening youth in the areas of science and technology through robotics and aerospace in Kenya. The workshop included about 30 students who carried out a simulation of a launch mission to space. The students were thus introduced to the world of space exploration and which worked to enhance their understanding of both the benefits and applications of space technology. In about four hours, the students were tasked with the responsibility of assembling and launching a rocket, set it up a base and establish communications back to earth. The gadgets were basically made to model the structures and equipment modern space explorers’ use in their activities.
There will also be workshops about aeronautics and robotics in future serving the same purpose; breaking down complex structures to gadgets to assist in student learning. This way, students are able to immerse their minds into various industries that are detrimental to the development of our world. Providing them with ample foundation to create and revolutionize the world as we know it.