On January 28, 2023, the first annual HERPol-Africa STEAM festival exhibition was organized under the Advances in Science and Technology Education (ASTECH-EDU) initiative at Red Clay Studio. ASTECH-EDU is a long-term initiative under the HERPol-Africa educational pledge to address the UN Sustainable Development Goal on education.

HERPol denotes health education research and policy, and it strives to impact lives across Africa and beyond. It is a non-governmental organization based in Tamale, Ghana, aimed at ensuring sustainable community development through the provision of research-informed solutions.

The event created an opportunity for students from five different senior high schools in the Northern region of Ghana to compete in creative thinking and learn from experienced professionals in the field. The competing senior high schools at the festival were the Dabokpa Vocational Training Institute, Vittin Senior High School, Tamale Girls Senior High School, Tamale Islamic Senior High School, and Saint Charles Minor Seminary Senior High School.

Key innovations that were exhibited by these participating schools during the event included bit-roller machines, stand-alone power systems, parabolic solar cookers, smart bins, the recycling of plastics into pavement blocks, an assembled tricycle and others. These key innovations were assessed by professional engineers, and prizes were awarded to the two schools. Students of the auto department of Dabokpa Technical Institute emerged as overall winners with an assembled tricycle project, while Vittin SHS placed second with a project that used recycled plastic waste to manufacture pavement blocks.

This event was one of the many ways to promote learning and encourage interest in STEAM subjects by providing hands-on activities and demonstrations. As participants displayed their works, students and other attendees had the opportunity to learn about the importance of basic scientific principles in their daily lives. This festival is one of the most important events for promoting STEAM literacy in Ghana and other parts of the world, as well as inspiring the next generation of innovators.

The Chief Executive Officer of HERPol, Dr. Osman Dufailu, elaborated on how the exhibitions showed the great potential that these future leaders have and how investing in them was going to contribute immensely to the development of this nation. Dr. Dufailu advised students to keep their best ideas in practice and to take advantage of their social media platforms to advertise and promote what they do.

“We have the potential, and when we invest in our students, we will develop a better nation…” (Dr. Osman Dufailu)

The innovations put out by these schools were believed to contribute to solving some societal problems if there was support for them to reach full scale, where they would be usable. Students were therefore advised to keep working and putting out their ideas to improve problem-solving within communities.

The winners of the HERPol KAAKA Dissertation and Research Grant award, which is open to all final-year tertiary students and aims to help HERPol achieve its goal of providing research-informed solutions to community problems, were also announced. Awardees were given cash awards to enable them to undertake their research work.

Dr Osman Dufailu founder of the HERPol KAAKA Dissertation and Research Grant award and three winners of the grant

Attendees expressed their appreciation for the event. Lastly, the organizers of the event encouraged that in subsequent events, there should be more participating schools to help widen the scope of STEAM literacy in the country.

Also present at the event was Prof. Abdul-Rauf Ibrahim (Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, TATU), Dr. Raymond Kazapoe (lecturer, School of Engineering, UDS), Mr. Abdul Hayi Moomen (Director of the University Relations for University for Development Studies), Mr. Ibrahim Mahama (Director, Red Clay Studios) (virtual), as well as some respected dignitaries from the faculties of engineering from Tamale Technical University and the University for Development Studies.

Prepared and compiled by Iddrisu Abdul-Malik (Programs Coordinator, HERPol-Africa)

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