First Engineering Outreach in Nigeria
The first engineering outreach workshop in Africa was organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Around 2000 secondary school students, including 1500 girls, participated in this week-long event held at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Several partners including Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Deyrolles, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Engineers without Borders (EWB) also participated in this event.
The engineering workshop consisted of a series of interactive activities designed to teach students about global development issues as well as encouraging them to become part of the solution. The outreach program materials were developed by EWB UK. There were around 120 UNN and EWB Nigeria undergraduates trained to lead the 4 activities. Through these hands-on activities, these young students explored issues such as the global water situation (Water for the World), adequate housing (Shelter for the World), transportation and its infrastructure (Going the Distance), and hydroelectric power generation (Micro-Hydro). They showed promise as budding innovators when they adapted the construction of a micro-hydroelectric turbine using available household materials (instead of using cork they used the rubber of an old shoe which was more effective in this context). The increased awareness of these global issues by the secondary students as well as workshop leader training for over 120 undergraduates will ensure the sustainability of this African outreach effort.
In addition, many faculty and administrators, including the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, attended the workshop sparking discussion on how UNESCO and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka could work together on engineering education objectives. Specifically, the need for laboratory equipment upgrades was identified and UNESCO is working with their engineering partners to realize these much needed equipment upgrades in the Faculty of Engineering laboratories.
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