PROJECT: I-CREA8 (Empowerment Program for Young Science Students’ in Nigeria)
PRINCE TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION
CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS/SCHOLARS IN NIGERIA
“No nation can be technologically self-sufficient if the young scientists, science scholars and researchers do not; produce indigenous technology and carry out industrial need-based research that will be used to produce more value-added goods and services” – Prince Nwankwo!
“Creativity they say is the mother of innovation and necessity the mother of invention”
Science and Technology is the engine of innovation and is an integral part of sustainable development. No nation can emerge as a great power without becoming an economic power and no nation can become an economic power without being a leader in science and technology. But how can we talk of technological advancement or economic development without developing the creative ability of young science scholars? How can these scholars be developed without adequate practical structures, proper motivation, encouragement, and sensitization? With all these questions in mind, I conceptualized the project I-crea8 in 2013.
I-crea8: a project to sensitize, motivate and spur the minds of young science students to becoming practical oriented and much more innovative; thereby driving technological advancement in Nigeria (Africa) to the endpoint of the result.
I-crea8: a project to improve the quality of lives and standard of living of science scholars by creating a platform for technological innovations, professional development, mentoring, networking, training, and brainstorming.
I-crea8: a project to build a prestigious network of young scientists who would fuel the African innovative ecosystems and rewrite African stories by venturing into technological research under close supervision by science professionals.
Through our pre-intervention survey, we discovered the needs of our target audience:
Social: they lacked adequate motivation and sensitization towards creativity and also lack provision for adequate practicality in the education curriculum.
Economic: lack of funds and facilities for research and innovations in secondary schools.
Provoked by such atrocious observations, motivated to take action, and determined to rebuild; restore, and achieve our nation’s liberation and social emancipation, our team swung into action and developed a three-dimensional approach to effectively empower our target audience – science secondary school students within our locality (Nigeria).
- The first approach: was forming of science clubs in all the 15 secondary schools selected for the pilot phase of the project. These clubs meet every Friday of the week to brainstorm and generate ideas. It serves as avenues to stimulate creative thinking among the students and enable them to unleash their imaginations.
- The second approach: was a practical workshop organized for the students by our Foundation. This session availed the students’ practical understanding of the severally read thesis. They had hand on-deck training using several electronic components like; resistor, capacitor, diode, light-emitting diode, light-dependent resistor, 555 timer integrated circuit, among other electronic components.
At the end of the successful practical session, we discovered yet another challenge. It became evident that the science teachers in those schools were behind time technologically and lacked the effective technological know-how to supervise the activities of the students. With tutors of this nature, how can these students gain appropriate technical support for innovative production? How can we create a community of young scientists who would venture into technological research?
Provoked by such atrocious observation, we saw the need to initiate a forum where these teachers and other science inclined individuals in Nigeria were provided with specialized practical and technical knowledge. Therefore we entered into an agreement (partnership) with CASWIT Resources Ltd and other local companies within our locality to the establishment of Prince Tech Academy. Additionally, members of the academy were taught business skills like; business plan and proposal writing to enable them to source funds to develop their start-ups and innovations into an existing investment prospect. This opened the minds of members of the academy to greater economic opportunities and as such, maximize the overall impact of the project.
- The third approach: was to organize a science and technology exhibition. Participating schools exhibited their innovations and got honoured and encouraged by the then honourable commissioner for Science and Technology – Anambra state, Nigeria; and other sponsors.
Prince demonstrating his Fingerprint Security Door System in Ghana (during YALI Leadership Training)
To ascertain the effectiveness of this project, we conducted an impact assessment using the triple bottom line approach;
- Over 6500 students have an improved knowledge of sciences resulting in significant growth of idea conceptualization and implementation.
- Over 250 science teachers now have the requisite knowledge in practical creativity to properly guide/supervise the activities of the science clubs, and generate funds for their innovations.
- Students of the science clubs were able to come up with designs like movement detector, Automatic Street light, information display system, Phone charger, siren/alarm, emergency night light, among other mouth-watering innovations/projects.
Prince demonstrating his Fingerprint Security Door System in Accra, Ghana (Prototype)
For the past ten (10) years, Prince has focused on empowering over 25, 000 Nigerians; youth/women, artisans, entrepreneurs, science scholars, and physically challenged persons with life-changing projects and skills that let them discover their own potential and prosper in an increasingly competitive global economy; while alleviating poverty in Nigeria, advancing Education for Sustainable Development, tackling power challenge, addressing long-term unemployment, and solving other big problems facing the region (Africa).
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