By Mary Hearty

In an effort to demystify science and make it accessible to all school children living in low-income areas in Nairobi, a group of science teachers within Dagoretti in Nairobi, Kenya have come up with an initiative that ignites the children’s interest in science.

The program known as “the Dagoretti Science Open Day” is a day in which the children will be able to have fun with science at the same time interrelate with leading science inspirators sourced from agriculture, medicine, waste management and renewable energy,  coding, robotics and artificial intelligence, among others.

The first Dagoretti Science Open Day which will be held on 20th November, 2021 in Riruta Satellite Education Centre will bring together 140 primary school children drawn from class 7 and 8; and 120 secondary school children drawn from form 3 and 4.

The primary schools include Gordrich School, Cornerstone Centre, Peak Education Centre, Grinlight Education, Naped Education, and Philadelphia School. While secondary schools are Riruta Satellite Education Centre, Shilce Secondary School and Top Mark Secondary School.

David Olwanda, the lead of this initiative and Biology and Chemistry teacher from Riruta Satellite Education Centre said this program will help expose these children to the idea that science is easy, science is manageable and every person is applying science either consciously or unconsciously.

He further noted: “When we started to mentor our children on science, most of them were taking it very positively as we saw the enrolment in science subjects increase especially when it comes to physics and biology.”

Aside from stimulating their interest around science, the initiative will also help keep them from situations that would make them vulnerable to predation and negative influences as most of these children are in the adolescent stage.

Caroline Lukalo, Co-lead of the Dagoretti Science Open Day said engaging school children on the relatively inexpensive opportunities that exist in science will keep them occupied and safe. As a result, this will enable them avert early pregnancies as well as criminal activities that prevent them from fulfilling their potential.

For instance, “if these kids are shown how to make a robot, then they might develop interest and start making theirs at home, or if they are shown how to do coding, instead of just going to the cyber to watch video games, they might develop the interest of learning more about it on educative platforms hence this will keep them off the streets,” Lukalo explained.

Dr Kenneth Monjero, President of Fun and Education Global Network (FEGNe) and research assistant at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KARLO) said this program will also raise their curiosity and change their attitude towards the issue of magic and science.

The teachers intend to replicate this program in other Nairobi slums including Kibera, Kariobangi, Kibagare, Mathare, Mukuru kwa Jenga, among others to help nurture other children as well.