7 December 2012

East Africa: Rwanda, Uganda Win Science Fair

Two 16-year-old Rwandan students Miriam Nsekonziza and Precious Nyabami scooped the top slot of the East African Regional Girls Intel Science Technology and Mathematics fair competition. The competition, the first of its kind was held under the theme, Science and Development, at Gayaza High School.

It was funded by Intel Corporation, which deals in computing innovation in collaboration with Forum for African Women Educationists.

In second position were Uganda's Gloria Asubira and Christine Nalukwago in Senior Five at Kitante Hill School.

Nsekonziza and Nyabami, from FAWE Girls Secondary School in Gisozi, Rwanda, won because of their project, Roof Top Design for Rain Water Harvest.

The project was designed in relation to Gisozi in Kigali, where people still face water shortage. The students first did a field study of the area to check the infrastructure and economic status of the population.

"Gisozi is hilly and the residents complain about a shortage of water. We decided to use our science and engineering knowledge to propose practical solutions to this problem," Nsekonziza explained.

In their research, metallic gutters, plastic pipes and filters would be used to direct running water from roof tops to their locally constructed water tanks and containers to collect water.

"Those in villages can use bamboo because it is easily available," Nyabami noted.

The Ugandan students' project was making drugs for deworming children using pawpaw seeds.

Asubira picked the idea from her grandmother, who used to tell them to collect pawpaw seeds.

"When I consulted elders they said the seeds had an anti-worm effect. So I decided to do more research and see how I could modify this into a better drug and make it available to the community," she said.

While making the drug, paw-paw seeds are sun-dried and crushed in a mortar; banana

or cassava flour is added and moulded to form tablets.

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