NATIONAL SCIENCE COMPETITION

Raising next generation of leaders, innovators

Tomorrow President Kenyatta will open the Young Scientists Kenya Exhibition at KICC.

In Summary

• The original Young Scientists competition was pioneered in Ireland 54 years ago.

• It has proved critical in our journey to becoming one of the world’s most open, globalised and dynamic economies.

Tomorrow (August 3) President Uhuru Kenyatta will open the Young Scientists Kenya Exhibition, an innovative national science competition to showcase and support the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators.

President Kenyatta, who is the patron of Young Scientists Kenya (YSK), will tour the exhibition and meet some of the 500 students from across Kenya who have invented cutting-edge science, technology and maths projects.

It is a day to celebrate the spirit of innovation and dynamism that drives this great country and recognise the transformative potential of Kenya’s greatest resource: Your bright and ingenious young people.  

 

As Ireland’s Ambassador to Kenya, I am delighted at the enthusiasm with which Kenya’s government, academia and private sector have grasped the opportunity of YSK to embed science, technology, engineering and maths skills (STEM) in schools nationwide.

Equipping young people with the knowledge and confidence to tackle the challenges facing their families and communities is key to achieving the Big Four agenda and Vision 2030.

The original Young Scientists competition was pioneered in Ireland 54 years ago and has proved critical in our journey to becoming one of the world’s most open, globalised and dynamic economies.

This is just the beginning of a journey that Kenya and Ireland are walking together, following in the footsteps of Irish missionaries who, for decades, provided quality education in Kenya.

Ireland now ranks in the top 10 worldwide for overall quality of scientific research. Our highly skilled workforce drives major medical advances and improves lives every day: Ireland produces four out of five of stents used worldwide and half of the world’s ventilators for acutely sick patients. More than 30 million people with diabetes use injectable devices made in Ireland.

Because of our deep commitment to scientific excellence and technological advances, we are home to world-class universities and many of the globe’s leading technology and life-sciences companies.

Young Scientists Ireland alumni include Patrick Collison, who co-founded the billion-dollar company Stripe, along with top-class doctors, scientists and teachers, making significant contributions to their communities and to society as a whole.

The Government of Ireland, through our Embassy in Nairobi, is committed to working with the Kenyan government, private sector and academic community to ensure that YSK drives interest in STEM subjects and careers; that it improves the quality of science teaching and that Kenya benefits from the brilliance of your young people, as we have done from ours for decades.

From a pilot reaching just 10 countries in 2018, the YSK Advisory Board and Secretariat succeeded in reaching schools in all 47 counties this year, ensuring that over 40,000 secondary school students experienced the excitement of science.

The top 500 students are now travelling to the KICC to display their projects in the national exhibition, which runs from tomorrow until Wednesday, August 7, when the overall winners will be announced.

Those winners will receive trophies, prizes and a week of mentoring and training at a business boot camp later this year to support them to turn their brilliant ideas into viable projects or companies. The two overall winners will get a full scholarship, courtesy of Strathmore University.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine (we live in each other’s shelter or, we need each other
Irish proverb

But, perhaps even more importantly, they will be recognised as the next generation of leaders and innovators who will shape their country’s future in years to come.  

This year, YSK takes place during National Science Week, organised by the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, while the Centre for Mathematics, Science, Technology Education in Africa is also partnering with us. We are deeply grateful for the support of Safaricom, our main sponsor, and all those who have provided funding, mentoring and support.

This is just the beginning of a journey that Kenya and Ireland are walking together, following in the footsteps of Irish missionaries who, for decades, provided quality education in Kenya.

In Irish, our native tongue, we have a proverb: 'Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine', which means that we live in each other’s shelter or, essentially, that we need each other.

YSK is a true partnership, which demands hard work, belief, perseverance and commitment; qualities that will be in abundant display at the exhibition in the Kenya International Convention Centre.

We need look no further than the students exhibiting 235 ground-breaking projects to be assured that our shared future is in safe hands.

Please join us at the KICC this week to celebrate these brilliant young Kenyan men and women.  

Ambassador of Ireland