A fieldtrip to Gonubie Beach, South Africa with the High School Learners from East London Schools. In the images are James Nyamahono and Kelvin Pikirai, leaders of the Mini Habitable Planet Programme

James Nyamahono and Kelvin Pikirai – East London Mini-Habitable Planet Workshop (Mini-HPW)

The biggest challenges facing South Africa today are those of poverty, systematic racial inequality (a persistent legacy of apartheid), and climate change. Science education offers a solution to all these problems, however, too few black South Africans are capacitated to participate in science careers. Our project has the primary goal of inspiring school pupils to acquire a lifelong fascination with the physical world, that will lead to successful careers in science and research.

We run programmes in schools that make the sciences explaining climate change fun, relevant and accessible. Furthermore, these build academic development, confidence, and leadership skills. Trained undergraduate peer educators work with pupils from disadvantaged schools. These peer educators start science clubs, which involve pupils in various activities such as creatively monitoring their local seasons. Secondly, a week long holiday programme of lectures and field trips will introduce them to Earth systems science.

Given the disadvantaged circumstances, achieving our goals requires transport for pupils, which requires additional funding. The grant from The Pollination Project will help maximize our project’s impact.