Day 13 - The new generation of engineers?

This morning we had a chance to catch up on sleep after our amazing weekend trip to Maasai Mara as we met with the girls from UoN just before a visit to Karen ‘C’ Secondary School. Arriving at this school in the southwest of Nairobi, we were warmly welcomed by the teachers. Not long after we introduced ourselves to the staff, around 120 girls were walking in a line towards a tent outside the main school building, each bringing a chair.

When giving our initial engineering presentation, the girls were quite distant and shy, but as we divided them into two groups and introduced them to the workshops they became very engaged and curious. We decided to recreate our favourite straw towers and a bionic hand, as on Thursday it seemed to be very popular amongst the children. Myself, I was a part of the bionic hand workshop. It was very interesting to see the girls try to come up with a solution on how the simple prototype of a hand could be made using only paper, strings and straws. We tried to give them as few hints as possible and observed how their creativity worked. Eventually, all groups created a decent model that represented a mechanical model of a hand.

After last week’s reflection, we decided to create a feedback form for both the students and the teachers to reassure ourselves our project is going in the right direction and we are making the impact we anticipated. Luckily for us, the feedback was better than we could have hoped for. All the girls were mentioning that we broadened their knowledge in STEM and many of them started seriously considering a career in engineering. This was an extremely strong wave of motivation for us and it will definitely drive us to give our best to this project. We could also see the impact of the workshop directly after finishing the activities as the girls overloaded us with questions about every single part of engineering you could possibly think of.

- Michaela