Joseph Clowry /Dr. Doggett/ Dr. Kamugisha
Science for Development
Young Scientists Tanzania Science Outreach Programme and Young Scientists Tanzania
- A successful relationship (Joseph Clowry)
Invited guests, inspirational teachers, educators, friends, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for this invitation to share our experiences about Science for Development, the establishment of Young Scientists Tanzania and Young Scientists Tanzania Science Outreach Programme. As I go through this, enjoy the pictures on the power point and hopefully together, they will build a picture of the journey.
The development of the Young Scientists Tanzania Science Outreach Programme (YSTSOP) and the establishment of Young Scientists Tanzania (YST) are the two vital components of this interesting story.
They are the two components that work hand-in-hand to deliver an amazing transformational impact in Tanzania and a model that can be transferred to any developing country.
To present a comprehensive lecture, I should talk about life in rural Ireland back in the late 1950’s. I could even speed it up to 1968, when I went to the Young Scientist in Dublin for the first time. That would be an important part of the narrative but it could take a long time so I will begin in 2004.
In 2004, some 25 years after graduating from Trinity College and having taught and lived in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, I began putting together a syllabus for a Development Education course that would actively engage secondary school students with issues of inequality, the Millennium Development Goals-MDG's and develop a narrative on global/local (Glocal) issues in general.
I felt that science teachers and scientists were not sufficiently involved in the discourse around development. I believed that Science for Development should be assimilated into Development Education and development aid programmes.
I was a science teacher in St. Mary’s Academy, Carlow. The school had an immersion programme involving ten students and two teachers who travelled to India every two year. In Kolkota, they worked in a school for street children and Mother Theresa's hospice for the dying.
I was on the board of a European Union Funded cross- border organisation- Horizon, which regularly brought our students on immersion workshops north and south of the border in Ireland. This encouraged dialogue between students from the diverse traditions and backgrounds on our small divided island.
I wanted to add value to these worthy high profile projects by engaging and involving the whole school community in the issues of inequality and the wider issues of conflict and poverty and not just the few students involved directly with these initiatives.
In 2006, the school applied and received a Development Education grant from Irish Aid to develop the Development Education course. I worked on the syllabus and resources for the course in partnership and in collaboration with St. Mary's CBS, Portlaoise and Self Help Africa.
The course, "Development Issues-a course for Transition Year" was initially piloted in our two schools in 2006.
Over the next two years, news of the new course spread and we were asked to facilitate several workshops in Maynooth University for another twenty-four schools who were interested in embedding the course in their transition year programme in their schools.
The course was a resounding success and was validated by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). A recently updated online version is available:
As a result of this work, in 2008, I was offered an exciting position as Education Officer with the Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium (CDPC) at Maynooth University. To do this, I had to take a four-year career break from teaching.
My key role was to develop the concept of Science for Development and continue to introduce Development Education to secondary schools by linking and highlighting the work of the CDPC.
Many workshops were organised throughout Ireland, to expose schools to the possibilities of researching projects that could impact the lives of people living in poverty and to engage students with the concept of Science for Development.
At the same time, I developed an innovative Science for Development Outreach Programme (SfDOP) for our 30 East African researchers while in the university. The researchers facilitated Development Education workshops and mentored projects for the Young Scientist and Young Social Innovators while on this school outreach. The experiences of these researchers are documented on blogs:
This Science for Development Outreach Programme (SfDOP) to secondary schools proved incredibly inspirational for all the East African researchers. All CDPC African alumni in Ireland between 2008 and 2012 rated these school visits as key highlights of their time in the university.
A very symbiotic, catalytic and transformational relationship developed. The Irish secondary school students fully benefited from the engagement with the researchers.
Very quickly the impact of this exchange of experiences informed the type of research undertaken by several Irish students entering for the Irish Aid/Self Help Africa Science for Development prize at the BTYSTE in Dublin.
At the same time, our East African researchers were inspired when they realised the potential of this approach in developing a much needed science cultures in their own respective countries. They felt that such a Science Outreach Programme could fill the vacuum for such innovation in East Africa.
Our first two CDCP researchers in 2008, Dr. Bosco and Dr. Brenda, from Uganda mentored Science for Development projects in secondary school in Ireland on issues ranging from poverty, malaria, nutrition and pro-biotic drinks for people living with HIV.
It soon became apparent that Science for Development was a powerful practical approach to development education.
The projects mentored by Dr. Bosco and Brenda went on to win prizes at BT Young Scientist in January 2009 and one mentored project was the overall winner of Young Social Innovators in May 2009.
As Education Officer, I organised a CDPC stand at the BT Young Scientist in January 2009. This proved to be very strategic, as it provided the platform for members of the consortium and I, to engage and meet students from all over Ireland who were involved with research for the Young Scientist. It also built a relationship with BTYSTE.
Also, in January 2009, at the first executive meeting of the CDPC, and one year into my new job as Education Officer, I gave a presentation about the Science for Development Outreach Programme (SfDOP) to the CDPC’s African Advisory Committee. They were full of praise for what they saw as "an innovative approach to development". They were particularly excited by the collaborations between the Ugandan university researchers and the secondary school students in Ireland. I was encouraged to continue exploring the possibilities of introducing such an outreach and Science for Development concept in East Africa.
One member of the committee, Prof Michael Kelly was particularly passionate about the prospects and encouraged me to make it happen.
Michael was a person I held in very high esteem due to his outstanding advocacy work and research on H.I.V. and A.I.D.S. in Zambia. His genuine encouragement motivated and inspired me to eventually deliver the project.
I began robust baseline research in early 2009 to investigate if this idea was feasible. It became very clear that if a Science for Development Outreach Programme were to work in a developing country it would need a high profile Science Exhibition to showcase the outreach work. One component would need the other. I examined all types of international and national science fairs and concluded that a model similar to the Irish Young Scientist model would work best in East Africa in partnership with the programme that I had developed in Ireland.
While in Ireland, I had also exposed the East African researchers to SciFest, Young Scientist and Young Social Innovators.
As I had delivered an educational and training project in Libya between 1986 and 1990, I now looked forward to this challenge presented to me by the Advisory Committee in East Africa.
I travelled to Tanzania and Uganda in May and July 2009, to explore the possibilities of transferring the project to one of the CDPC’s partner counties and see if there was support for the idea on the ground.
I had preliminary meetings in the Irish Embassies in Uganda and Tanzania and briefed on my work in Ireland and the plans for the Young Scientist and the Science Outreach Programme.
On this first visit to East Africa, I was conscious that I was presenting an idea that had grown out of the success of the Science for Development Outreach Programme in Ireland but it would be up to our partners to embrace and deliver in their countries.
I need not have had worried as the local interest was phenomenal.
I had a whirlwind of meetings in Kampala and Dar es Salaam with government officials, universities, NGOs, and business.
At one of my presentations, a government official cleared his desk and said his country was a fertile ground for such a project. He asked me to support him to plant the seeds for the project and he would ensure it was cultivated.
He assured me that a Science Outreach Programme combined with a high profile science exhibition like the Young Scientist could be the catalyst that would work.
This was the type of reaction that motivated me.
Dr. Bosco and Dr Brenda, who were the first CDPC alumni, arranged the meetings in Uganda. Both had returned from Ireland in late 2008 and were very strong advocates for having the Irish Young Scientist model to be transferred to Uganda as they had participated in the Science for Development Outreach Programme for three months in Ireland.
At this time on my first visit to East Africa, the CDPC had no researchers from Tanzania on training programmes in Ireland so I arranged meetings with our CDPC partner institutions in Tanzania.
I first met Prof Eligius Lyamuya, Muhimbili University and then Gozibert Kamugisha and Jacqueline Mgumia from UDSM, to introduce the concept of Science for Development
I discussed the potential of transferring the Science for Development Outreach Programme to Tanzania but combining it with a science-based competition like the Young Scientist to Tanzania.
I also informed them, that I was exploring Uganda and Kenya at the same time, as a possible option.
Prof. Eligius, Jacqueline and Kamugisha agreed that the introduction of this type of model in Tanzania would be inspirational and achievable and all agreed to do some research and organise further meetings.
At the arranged follow up meetings in July 2009, Eligius, Gozibert and Jacqueline introduced me to Titus Mteleka, retired Government Director of Science and Technology. Together, these four advocates promised that they would do all in their power to make the innovative project happen in Tanzania. They bought-into the idea big-time and understood what Science for Development would mean to Tanzania.
They were particularly supportive and enthused by the proposed Science Outreach Programme which they believed would have the potential to get secondary students involved in early science research trajectories.
Titus would become a key player in accessing and arranging contacts for me in the country and would eventually become the Government Liaison Officer for YST.
In May and July 2009, I also had a very productive meeting with James Davey, Matthew Banks and Dr. Monica Gorman, Tanzania Country Directors for Concern Worldwide, Children in Crossfire and Oxfam respectively and all three were very highly supportive of the Science for Development initiative.
Dr Monica was a great friend and colleague and really believed in the proposed model of the Young Scientist model working in parallel with a quality Science Outreach Programme. Monica while working in Ireland had previously met the CDPC Ugandan Alumni in Ireland and was aware of the CDPC outreach programme.
Monica provided much guidance and advice on the establishing the project in Tanzania and would become a pivotal member of the YST Board in 2011.
I conducted further research on the comparative state of the sciences in secondary schools in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. It became obvious that Tanzania would benefit most from the introduction of a Science for Development Outreach Programme along with Young Scientist model equivalent.
Meetings were arranged with Dorothy Mwaluko, Ministry of Education and the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH).
I was granted a research visa by COSTECH to research the feasibility of the project in Tanzania.
After the first successful scouting meetings in Tanzania and Uganda in May 2009, I returned to Ireland and debriefed the CDPC.
I arranged my first meeting on 30th June 2009 with Dr. Tony Scott, Co-founder of Young Scientist in Ireland.
I wanted to explore if Tony would support the idea of transferring the Young Scientist model to another country.
As Peter Broad was the BTYSTE contact person when organising the stand at BTYSTE in Jan 2009, I asked Peter to arrange this first meeting with Dr. Scott.
I knew that the proposed Science for Development Outreach Programme in Tanzanian would need a high profile exhibition if it were to succeed. I could think of nothing better than the Young Scientist in Ireland model to showcase this synergy.
Together, with Dr. Noel Murphy, Co-Chair, CDPC, I briefed Tony about my work in Maynooth University on Science for Development, the proposed outreach work in Africa and the growing potential and support for a Young Scientist model or equivalent in developing countries. We discussed the potential challenges involved in establishing the model.
I informed Tony that I would probably select Tanzania as the pilot country, not because it was the easiest option but because it had the greatest need to build science capacity.
Despite these challenges, I mentioned that I was very impressed with the outcome of the initial meetings in Tanzania and I knew this strong support would be vital to drive the project forward there. At this early stage there was government, NGO, private and public support for the project. The Irish community were highly supportive at this early stage. I was under no illusions that Tanzania would be the most challenging country in East Africa to establish the Science Outreach Programme component part of the project from a teacher capacity, geographical and logistical viewpoint.
To my great delight, at our very first meeting, Tony offered me every encouragement and guidance. This meant so much to me at this time. Tony said he would be supportive “in principle” for the use of the Young Scientist template in Tanzania but it would be contingent on updates on developments following his advice and guidance.
I knew the exhibition would only be possible if I got the Science Outreach Programme off the ground. The exhibition would need to showcase the proposed outreach programme.
Despite growing interest and enthusiasm in East Africa for the idea, Irish Aid/HEA in Ireland who provided funding for the CDPC were not in a position to support the idea. I was reminded that my work to transfer of the Young Scientist to Tanzania and supporting outreach programme was "not the scope” of the CDPC, as set out in the Programme for Strategic Cooperation.
Furthermore, in November 2009, I was invited to attend an official HEA/ Irish Aid review meeting of CDPC with Co-chairs, Dr. Noel Murphy and Dr. Jamie Saris, to highlight my work.
Again it was forcefully reiterated by HEA/Irish Aid that my work on transferring the Young Scientists was “not the scope of CDPC or my job as Education Officer with the CDPC”.
I was completely deflated, as I really believed that I had made great progress in Tanzania and Uganda during my visits in May and July and I thought this would be recognised as a positive development. It may have been seen as a left of field idea but one I felt was worth exploring.
I was beginning to believe that Science for Development should be recognised as an important part of any development initiative.
I knew after this meeting, with HEA/Irish Aid that I would have to get independent support and funding to deliver the project.
Fortunately, Dr. Noel Murphy, CDPC Co-Chair, fully supported my work and encouraged me to continue my work in establishing the project.
Prof. Michael Kelly was in contact and encouraged me to keep working on the proposal, despite the setbacks. He even suggested that Zambia could be an option! I continued my hectic Science for Development Outreach Programme work as Education Officer in Ireland. Many more East African researchers came to Ireland and participated in this programme. To a person, every researcher became an advocate for the establishment of YS and YSSOP in their countries.
In 2010, Gozibert Kamugisha whom I had first met in Tanzania back in May 2009 came to study with the CDPC.
I got him highly active in the SfDOP – Science for Development Outreach Programme. He saw first-hand the concept of the Young Scientist and the Science for Development Science Outreach Programme.
Kamugisha and I would eventually become Co-Founders of Young Scientists Tanzania.
Kamugisha will talk about this in a while.
As a result of the knockback from HEA/Irish, I had to use every free moment and holiday time to work on establishing the YST project between 2009 and 2011.
As mentioned when it became apparent that there were no possibilities of funding or support for the idea coming from Ireland, I began concentrating on leveraging corporate support for the project in Tanzania.
My decision to engage a major sponsor was informed by the Irish model where BT was the main sponsor.
In 2009, I began discussions with Zantel Telecom. The CEO, Noel Herrity, was an Irishman and a great supporter of the Young Scientist in Ireland. After several months of communication, Zantel finally agreed ‘in principle’ to be the sponsor of YST. There was great excitement.
Discussions continued for many more months to tie down the agreement but unfortunately, these negotiations collapsed unexpectedly and abruptly in 2010, with the change of CEO and management in Zantel.
Fortunately, during this period of negotiations with Zantel, I had kept busy project managing all the other components needed to launch the project. Though disappointed, I was not going to let this funding setback dampen my spirits for such an innovative project!!
It was a severe blow but an important learning curve for me.
Having worked for so long trying to get one major sponsor of YST as informed by the Irish template, and then seeing how it could all fall apart so easily, I decided to concentrate on engaging several sponsors or ‘the eggs in more than one basket approach’.
It is also important to note, that I was not just looking for a sponsor to provide funding for the exhibition as in Ireland model but a sponsor who would also provide the funding to support the much needed science outreach programme.
It is also very important to note that there was not a strong culture of independent research by secondary schools students in Tanzania at this time.
It was clear from my initial research that the exhibition could not take place without the science outreach programme.
There was no possibility of getting sponsored support for the exhibition by itself as the schools would not be able to deliver the projects.
I decided to make haste slowly. I now believed that the key would be to pilot the project and “firmly plant the idea in the fertile ground” and this would generate interest.
To make a long story short, after the disappointments with Zantel, I eventually leveraged initial funding to pilot the project from Pearson Foundation.
Pearson Foundation really liked the two components of the model.
They would fund the Science Outreach Programme because it supported the teachers and students with their preparation of projects for the exhibition.
The route to secure this funding was really exhausting and well worth documenting.
In 2010, I was introduced to fellow Irishman, Michael McGarvey, VP Africa Schools, Pearson, London by Jonathan Sutton, another Irishman and CEO of Radar Education in Dar es Salaam. Radar was a distributer for Pearson books in Tanzania.
Michael Mc Garvey’s support was crucial as he advised and supported Pearson’s Foundation and Affordable Learning Fund to deliver sustainable development projects and sponsor innovative new school models in Africa.
Fortunately, Young Scientists Tanzania would become one of these projects.
Michael and Jonathan attended the BTYSTE in January 2011 and saw the exhibition first-hand.
Michael was really impressed. Over the next few months, I was in constant communication with Michael. I travelled to London many times to meet him and several other members of his Pearson African team.
It eventually became apparent that Pearson would not be able to support the project financially but fortunately these negotiations with Michael would open the door with Pearson Foundation.
There was a lot of communication and negotiation with the foundation in the early part of 2011. This was a difficult time for me, as I was holding down my full time job at the same time.
Following these meetings with Michael in London, I then travelled to Dar es Salaam in May 2011 to meet Eric Gregory from Pearson Foundation (PF) and Katie Smith from Pearson.
Pearson was one of the main sponsors of the ICWE eLearning Conference being held at Mlimani Conference Centre, and I used the opportunity to meet Eric and fully explain the components of the project. Eric was a keynote speaker at the conference.
I knew that he wasn’t keen on the idea of funding an exhibition alone.
Once Eric realised that the funding request from Pearson Foundation was to deliver a high quality Science Outreach Programme in secondary schools to build capacity in the sciences and at the same time promote a much needed research culture, he really supported the proposal. The outreach programme would provide a platform for the students to present their research at a high profile exhibition,
Following this important meeting with Eric, my communications with Jenny Redmond and Mark Nieker in the USA Pearson Foundation Offices gathered momentum.
Finally on 25th July 2011 a grant agreement with Pearson Foundation was agreed and the much needed incubation funding would become available shortly after this.
PF would provide an immediate $45,000 for outreach work and the launch of YST in November 2011 and a further $35,000 would be available on 1st January 2012 to make preparations for YST2012.
Securing these funds was vital as it allowed me to continue the work on the project independently of the CDPC resources and not cause any further conflict with HEA/Irish Aid at CDPC evaluations.
A MOU between Maynooth University and Pearson Foundation was agreed and the much-needed funds became available in August 2011. The Co-Chairs of CDPC were a great support at this time. Trying to work on the project at a time when HEA/Irish Aid were reminding us that Young Scientist was not the scope of my work.
So I was very happy as at last I could see light at the end of the tunnel for the project.
I was still keen to have Irish Aid through the embassy in Tanzania involved with the Young Scientist Tanzania project as I believed it would eventually lead to the development of a much needed science culture in Tanzania which would in turn lead to development. At all times, I stressed that a comprehensive Science Outreach programme was the key component of the Science for Development project.
After all, this is what I understood the use of our overseas development aid to be about? I was always confident that one day Irish Aid would eventually come on board.
I want to go back a little to explain how Irish Aid through the Embassy in Tanzania eventually got involved.
Despite the lack of support back in Ireland, at CDPC HEA/Irish Aid evaluations, I had been delighted with the encouragement on the ground in Tanzania from Anne Barrington, Irish Ambassador to Tanzania when I first met her to discuss my plans.
I also introduced the idea, to Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide at that time in 2009 and he was highly supportive and commented "why haven't we thought of this before now."
Concern Worldwide would eventually provide YST with office space in their Dar Es Salaam offices, sponsor a YST Special Award at YST 2012 and their Deputy Country Director, Gearoid Loibhead would be the Chairperson of the YST board. Concern still continued to sponsor a prize, even though they have ceased operations in Tanzania.
Following Ambassador Barrington's departure, Lorcan Fullam, was posted as the new ambassador in 2010. I immediately contacted him and he became a very strong advocate for the project.
However, he pointed out the difficulties the embassy would have in being able to support the project, as education was not a priority objective of the Tanzania desk.
However, I was not going to give up easily on the idea of the Embassy of Ireland in Tanzania not supporting the project.
I realised it was great to have the eventual Pearson Foundation support but I also wanted the strategic ‘value added” support of the Embassy. I considered this support vital, especially after the bad experiences with Zantel.
While Lorcan saw the project "left of field" he still genuinely encouraged and supported my work. In 2011, he assigned Aileen O’Donovan from the embassy to liaise with me. Aileen provided great support, advice and guidance on the initial YST grant aid proposal.
As mentioned, I wanted the embassy to realise that YST was one of those projects that it could not afford, not to support. Lorcan once commented jokingly that “I was a like a dog with a bone” on this issue.
I was also fortunate, as Lorcan was one of those people who could see "outside the box" and I was confident, with Aileen’s support that he would eventually mastermind the embassy support. They were refreshing examples of “doers and not talkers" in the development world.
Having the support of people like Prof Michael Kelly, Prof Lyamuya, Lorcan Fullam, Eric Gregory and Tom Arnold, I felt invigorated and motivated to keep going. It was also great to receive support for the idea from people like Eamonn Brehony, Paddy Reilly and Alais Morindat at that time.
As mentioned, after relentless meetings and groundwork, Pearson Foundation eventually provided incubation funding which allowed time for me work in Tanzania and consolidate the necessary contacts to embed the project.
Securing this independent funding also acted as a catalyst in getting the strategic support from the Irish Embassy in Tanzania.
I had to do most of this work during my holiday or free time as my main work continued as Education Officer with the CDPC in Ireland. Throughout this time I was also a tutor and internal examiner on the Post Graduate Diploma in Education at Maynooth University. It was a hectic and busy few years.
Throughout the years, I was offered a Research Visa by the Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH) in Tanzania to allow work on the project.
As things were gaining momentum in Tanzania, I realised that it would be necessary to inform Irish Aid in Ireland about the progress in Tanzania and the engagement with the Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
In Feb 2011, I met Austin Gormley, Sean Hoy, Grainne O’Neill and Maire Matthews at Irish Aid offices in Hatch Street, Dublin to brief them about the great progress in Tanzania, especially the potential support from Pearson Foundation and the iterative support from Lorcan.
This meeting was a breakthrough. There was now tentative support in principle, coming from Irish Aid in Ireland, for the first time, mainly due to the obvious progress and support in Tanzania.
I informed them of my meeting with Pearson in the London Offices a few days before and how Pearson Foundation were now being targeted as a potential sponsor.
As coincidence would have it. Some seven years after the CDPC evaluation meetings mentioned above and some five years after the above meeting in Hatch Street, Maire Matthews, represented the Irish Embassy in Tanzania as Charge d’Affaire as guest speaker at the Annual Awards Ceremony of YST 2016. Prior to her speech, Maire acknowledged the tough YST journey and congratulated me on its’ success.
As mentioned, between 2009 and 2011, I had regular meetings with Dr. Tony Scott to keep him up to date on progress and developments.
Finally, on 20th April 2011, when Tony felt all the jigsaw pieces were fitting into place, I received the official letter from Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition Ireland Ltd., granting permission to use the Irish model as a template for the Young Scientists Tanzania exhibition.
This was an important milestone as I felt the branding of the project under the Young Scientist model was important for credibility in Tanzania. The Young Scientist template combined with our Science Outreach Programme would pave the way for the transformational impact we have witnessed in the last few years.
Pearson Foundation and Irish Aid would also require this approval from the Irish Young Scientist board for Tanzania to use the Young Scientist as a template.
This permission was granted for an initial one-year period, after which time it would be re- evaluated by YSTE Ireland Ltd. I am grateful to Tony for this support and permission to use the YS template for the exhibition.
Needless to say this agreement has been updated on two occasions since, following reviews by YSTE Ireland Ltd and will be reviewed again in 2019.
On 28th April 2011, Lorcan Fullam, Dr. Murphy, Dr. Saris and I, met Peter Broad and Dr Tony Scott in the RDS, Dublin (home of Young Scientist) to inform of the progress.
There was a lot of choreography involved in the early months of 2011 as things were fitting into place and a domino effect was taking place.
Following this meeting in the RDS, I returned to Tanzania and as mentioned above I met Eric Gregory on the 26th May to push forward the grant proposal application with Pearson Foundation. At this time, I also met Dr. Brendan Doggett, an Irish scientist who was living in Dar and was already working on a small outreach program with Science teachers in the City. I outlined my work and he bought into the idea and became fully involved with the project from that very moment.
He was excited by the idea of combining a quality Science Outreach Programme with a proposed Young Scientist Exhibition.
Brendan will talk about this in a while.
In early July 2011, Co-Chairs of the CDPC, Dr. Noel Murphy and Dr. Jamie Saris who were attending our CDPC Conference in Kampala travelled to Tanzania for a few days and we introduced them to the partners who were collaborating with us on the project.
Throughout 2011, I worked hard in selecting a competent board of 10 members from Academia, Business and NGOs for the proposed company.
On 11th July, Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition Tanzania Ltd was registered in BRELLA as an official not-for-profit Tanzanian company with Kamugisha Gozibert, Prof Eligius Lyamuya and I, as Directors.
The main aim of the company was to promote science and technology through an extensive science outreach programme and hold an annual exhibition for schools to present their research projects.
It is important to note that some of the people, that I had first met back at the first meeting in 2009, Prof Eligius, Kamugisha and Titus were still the backbone of this team and board. They had lived up to their promise at the first meeting in 2009 and had consistently proven their dedication to the project.
Prof Eligius Lyamuya, Muhimbili University would eventually become Chairperson of the board in 2014. Following completion of his PhD research, Dr. Gozibert Kamugisha would become Executive Director of YST in 2013. Titus Mteleka would become Government Liaison Officer in 2011.
The funding from Pearson Foundation came at the right time as it allowed me to offer consultancy to Dr Doggett and Peter Broad to travel to Tanzania to work on the launch with me. Peter had previously worked on BTYSTE for several years and would provide consultancy for a few weeks in the build-up the launch in November 2011. Brendan would later become Science Advisor to YST and is still as enthusiastic and committed to the project as he was then. He is also in charge of the YST judging which is a vital aspect of the integrity of YST.
Momentum and Major Progress at last / Ministry of Science, Communication and Technology agree to a launch date for YST / Embassy of Ireland in Tanzania eventually come on board
Having secured the Pearson Foundation funds, the Ministry of Science Communication and Technology on the 28th August 2011, officially requested Young Scientists Tanzania to be launched on the first ever Science Week in Tanzania on 11th November 2011. They had previously confirmed their support for the project in early 2011 but this request would give Young Scientists Tanzania the opportunity of having a high profile launch and one that potential sponsors would appreciate.
Kamugisha, Brendan and I, began our first YST Science Outreach Programme to the selected schools over the next two months.
This was a really exciting time.
We obtained permission from the regional and district education officers to conduct the programme in schools. We visited the schools and held our workshops with teachers and students and introduced the exciting model to Tanzania.
The foundations were being laid for the YST exhibition and it was amazing.
Embassy of Ireland in Tanzania eventually come on board
Following the successful funding agreement with Pearson Foundation, the permission to use the Irish Young Scientist model for the exhibition, the establishment of YSTE Tanzania Ltd, the Tanzanian Government support of YST and the Tanzania Government request to officially launch the project at their Official Science Week, Lorcan Fullam through the Embassy in Tanzania finally provided Euro 34,965 incubation funding at the last minute before the launch.
I was delighted to have Irish Aid eventually on board, as I had always considered Irish Aid as an important strategic partner and one that I felt would add to the concept of partnership between Ireland as a knowledge economy and Tanzania.
The partnership would show how science for development should work with a synergy between a developed and developing country. I was also very proud of the Young Scientist as an Irish brand and potential export. I felt the support of the project by Irish Aid also gave credibility to the project and in return YST would eventually give credibility locally to Irish Aid.
YST is indebted to Lorcan and Aileen for guiding and delivering this Irish Aid sponsorship support in 2011, as it laid the foundations for the further support from the embassy over the next years.
YST is finally launched after 30 months of dedicated work
Prof Mbarawa, Minister for Science, Communication and Technology officially launched Young Scientists Tanzania on the 11th Nov 2011 in Mnazi Mmoja in Dar Es Salaam.
Eric Gregory, Pearson Foundation and Lorcan Fullam, Irish Ambassador to Tanzania were special guest speakers at the launch.
Four schools presented projects at the official launch in Mnazi Mmoja in the open air under the baking hot sun. Each school presented projects from each of the four categories as in the Irish model. It was a great success.
Tanzanian ownership of the project
Having project managed all aspects of establishing the pilot and launching YST in November 2011, I decided it was now necessary to employ and mentor a Tanzanian Coordinator for the project before my contract ended with CDPC the following year in October 2012.
The secured funding from Pearson Foundation and Irish Aid allowed the employment of Deus Valentine the first YST Coordinator, immediately after the launch in November 2011.
A few days after the launch, I had a meeting with Hatim Karimjee and he agreed that the Karimjee Javinjee Foundation would become a Gold Sponsor for YST2012 and provide $25,000.
After the launch, work began immediately on preparations for the 2012 exhibition. A five-year strategic plan funded by the Embassy was commissioned by Philip Connolly.
I organised a delegation from Tanzania to attend the BTYSTE exhibition in Dublin in Jan. 2012.
The delegation consisted of Dorothy Mwaluko MoEVD, Raphael Mmassi, COSTECH, Titus Mteleka, Gozibert Kamugisha from the YST board and YST Coordinator, Deus Valentine. A delegation from Pearson London offices also attended the exhibition.
Pearson Foundation then agreed to become the main sponsor for YST 2012. They provided YST with a very generous grant-matching scheme. They would provide 100% matching of other sponsorship funds up to $150,000.
This was greeted with great excitement. YST in 2012 could have a potential sponsorship of $300,000!
The main objective of this sponsorship was to allow YST to have 100 schools in our Science Outreach Programme and these 100 schools would be able to present at the annual YST 2012 exhibition.
Another funding request for YST 2012 was agreed through Lorcan Fullam with the Irish Embassy in Tanzania. The excitement was palpable.
For YST 2012, I also successfully negotiated further sponsorship with Self Help Africa, Concern Worldwide, Children in Crossfire, Oxfam Ireland, Karimjee Jivanjee Foundation and ESB International. Following the Tanzanian visit to the BTYSTE in Dublin, COSTECH provided funding for a Special Award for YST 2012.
Each of these sponsors had their funds doubled by the Pearson Foundation!
Unfortunately, Deus, the YST Coordinator resigned in February 2012 and I continued to project manage YST 2012. This was an incredible busy time.
Kamugisha, Brendan and I would criss-cross the country on our YST Science Outreach Programme to mentor the teachers and students presenting the projects in the 100 schools and to build capacity in the regions.
It was all worthwhile…
The exhibition took place in October 2012 and the one hundred schools took part. We had expanded to 10 regions in Tanzania in our first year.
YST 2012 was an incredible success. I invited Dr. Tony and Pauline Scott to the exhibition. We were happy to cover their flights and expenses in appreciation of the permission to use the Young Scientist model for the exhibition. Tony was full of praise for our achievement. He said, "should I have had closed my eyes, I would have thought I was standing at the exhibition in Dublin".
Our first YST winners were Monica, Aisha and Nangai from Kibosho Secondary School, Kilimanjaro and they would travel to Ireland for BTYSTE 2013.
Fionnuala Gilsenan, the new Irish ambassador, who had arrived in Tanzania a few weeks before the YST 2012 exhibition, was a special guest at the Awards Ceremony along with Prof Mbarawa, Minister for Science, Technology and Communication.
Several employees from Radar Education volunteered to assist in the lead up to the YST 2012 exhibition and the exhibition itself. In return, Radar Education was offered Gold Sponsorship at the annual exhibition in return for their “in-kind” support.
Maynooth University were also offered this “in-kind-sponsorship” due to their support of my work on the project.
Three of these Radar Education volunteers, Arabella De Steiger Khandwala, Archana Kakad and Nabil Karatela would eventually work for YST and become YST Project Manager (2013), YST Project Manager (2014) and YST accountant respectively.
In Ireland the CDPC programme ends
As mentioned previously, I was working as Education Officer with the CDPC during these initial three years of setting up the project in Tanzania but unfortunately, CDPC operations came to an end in October 2012.
It was a remarkable unfortunate untimely coincidence but just one week after the successful first-ever annual YST 2012 exhibition, my contract with CDPC was about to end.
The closing down of CDPC operations at Maynooth University was very sad for all concerned but the consortium were unable to leverage any further funding from Irish Aid/HEA.
Dr. Murphy and Dr. Saris wrote to the President of Maynooth University and informed him about the potential gap that could possibly exist in the development of YST without my input at such an early stage. They also highlighted that there could be a future potential lost opportunity for the university if not supporting their suggestion to offer some employment. Dr. Tony Scott wrote a similar themed letter to the president.
But let us not forget that these were difficult times in Ireland and there was a moratorium on employment as the country was in the grip of austerity.
It is a real pity but these suggestions to Maynooth University never materialised so in January 2013, I begin working as Project Officer on a three-year contract with WorldWise Global Schools, an Irish Aid funded project in Dublin.
Though working in Ireland, I remained in constant contact with Young Scientists Tanzania. My normal day began at 6am (9 am Tanzania time) with Skype conference calls to Tanzania before starting my job in Ireland.
At the same time in January 2013, Arabella De Steiger Khandwala was recruited as Project Manager for YST and Dr Gozibert Kamugisha as Executive Director.
In March 2013, the Irish Minister for Foreign Affaires and Trade, Joe Costello while on an official visit to Tanzania, visited some YST outreach schools in Morogoro and pledged his continued support for the project at a reception in the Embassy.
In April 2013, the team got the bad news that Pearson Foundation would not be in a position to sponsor YST 2013 due to major changes in the Pearson Foundation strategy in Africa. This was a huge and unexpected blow. YST had lost our major sponsor.
To make matters worse the newly recruited YST Project Manager informed us that she would need to resign in June as she had decided to return to the UK to give birth to her daughter.
By May 2013, the situation for the YST 2013 looked very bleak as no funding had been secured for the YST2013 exhibition.
The YST board requested my return to Tanzania. As I had worked on establishing YST for three years, I could not turn my back on the project at this time.
To make things worse Board Members, Gearoid Loibhead and Dr. Monica Gorman moved from Tanzania. They were replaced by new board members.
I had to make and take very difficult decisions that would impact negatively on my career in Ireland. In May 2013, just four months into my new job in Ireland, I decided to resign in order to return to Tanzania.
This was a very tough decision and again I am grateful for the support of my family and friends during this stressful time.
When I returned to Tanzania, Kamugisha and I had a meeting with Nicholas Michael in the Irish Embassy to see how YST 2013 could be salvaged. We are indebted to Nicholas for his continued support, guidance to YST at this critical time. He followed in the great supportive tradition of Lorcan Fullam.
Despite the major setbacks, and the lack of a major sponsor, we were going to make YST 2013 happen!!
In fact, YST2013 turned out to be a great success but we had to reduce the participating schools to sixty. We also had to reduce each team from three to two participants.
Again, despite all the funding issues, we still found some funding to cover Dr Tony Scott’s flight and accommodation and he came to the YST 2013 exhibition.
Fortunately, in the lead up to the reduced YST2013 exhibition, I had negotiated a new sponsorship partnership with BG Tanzania, through my contacts with Colm Kearney, Head of Exploration at BG Tanzania and this would prove very beneficial in future years.
Colm was an Irishman who also saw the long-term benefit of Young Scientists Tanzania.
BG Tanzania agreed to become a Gold Sponsor for the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Category for YST 2013 and provided $25,000.
Again, the team from Radar Education, including Archana Kakad and Nabil Karatela volunteered to assist the YST team at the YST 2013 exhibition and in return, Radar Education was offered “in kind” sponsorship.
I worked hard in developing relations with BG Tanzania in 2013 and this was rewarded when BG Tanzania announced at the YST 2013 exhibition Gala Dinner that they would become the major sponsor of YST in 2014 and they announced that they would increase their sponsorship from $25,000 as category sponsors in 2013 to $250,000 for 2014.
This was incredible news and confidence in the project.
At long last, I felt my decision to come back to Tanzania had been rewarded and the YST project would be on a solid foundation for 2014.
Archana Kakad was recruited as full time Project Manager in February 2014. Dr. Kamugisha would continue as Executive Director. Dr. Doggett would continue as Science Advisor on a consultancy basis. Titus Mteleka would continue as Government Liaison Officer and Nabil Keratela would be employed as consultant accountant. I continued to be Director and Senior Science Advisor to YST.
Having secured the BG Tanzania funding and putting in place a great YST team, I returned to Ireland following the YST 2013 exhibition.
The Department of Education in Ireland through the BoM at St. Mary’s Academy, granted permission for me to job-share which allowed time to continue my work part time on the project in Tanzania.
The great success of the project revolves around the YST team. Keeping this hard working and passionate team together throughout the years has been a great achievement and one that has led to the success of the organisation. Let there be no doubt about this. The YST management motto is simple and a well-known one: train and develop the team well enough so that they could leave at any time but treat the team well enough so that they will want to stay.
Brian Nolan who was the contact person at the Irish Embassy in Tanzania has also been a great supporter of the project for the last three years. He works well with the YST team and ensures the embassy still supports the YST project.
In 2014, I continued to travel to Tanzania on every break and holiday in order to work on the project as Senior Science Advisor on the YST Science Outreach programme. YST 2014 was another great success and YST increased its Science Outreach Programme to 120 schools from 22 regions. The Awards Ceremony was televised live on national TV.
Moving on quickly. In 2015, YST became a truly national competition and a major success. YST had schools from all 30 regions participating in the YST Science Outreach Programme and the national YST exhibition.
The retired President of Tanzania, Ali Hassan Mwinyi was the special guest at the awards ceremony. We were delighted when Emma O’Kelly and Colm McCaughey from RTE, Ireland arrived in Tanzania and reported from the exhibition.
Our sponsors remained loyal and passionate partners and without their commitment throughout the years we could not have delivered the opportunities to the hundreds of secondary schools students in Tanzania
It should be noted that Tanzania became the first country in Arica (if not the world) to have the Young Scientist brand and model outside of Ireland. It was tough journey but worth it. The success of the YSTSOP to compliment the YST exhibition was proving to be transformational.
Before I conclude it is worth mentioning a few important points.
The actual Young Scientists Tanzania exhibition is modelled on the Irish model but the greatest and most important component of the Young Scientist project in Tanzania is not the exhibition itself but the YST Science Outreach Programme. YST is about Science for Development and the two components work hand in hand to deliver a very symbiotic relationship.
Unlike Ireland, YST has to employ Science Advisors to facilitate the YST Science Outreach Programme. Every school that is selected to participate at the annual exhibition is visited by the Science Advisors and the teachers and students are mentored in science research methodologies.
In the YST Science Outreach Programme, teacher and student workshops are facilitated throughout the year for all participants, in all thirty regions in Tanzania. The workshops build teacher and student capacity in scientific research methodologies.
Unlike Ireland, YSTSOP Regional Co-ordinators are employed by YST in each region to facilitate the workshops and liaise with all the schools in the regions. The 30 YSTSOP Regional Co-ordinators work in partnership with the YST Science Advisors. YSTSOP Regional Co-ordinators are involved with all the local regional logistics associated with the outreach and exhibition. This is a huge operation.
Young Scientists Tanzania, unlike Ireland, awards four university scholarships each year to winning projects. This allows students to go to university who may otherwise not be in a position to do so.
In Tanzania, we target schools that have few resources, few science teachers and have few highly qualified teachers.
Unlike Ireland, YST has to pay for everything throughout the year. This involves the costs of all transport, food and accommodation for all participating teachers and students, regional coordinators and volunteers attending regional workshops and the annual exhibition.
This means from the time the 450 students and teachers leave their school until they return to their schools, YST takes care of all expenses. In most cases this means looking after their every need while attending the exhibition for seven to eight days as they travel from up-country regions. That is just for the exhibition alone.
We even have to provide funding for clothes in some cases. All expenses incurred by the teachers and students and YSTSOP Regional Co-ordinators to attend workshops throughout the year are also taken care of by the project.
The funding requirement for these components is huge and it is where most of the sponsorship funding is required and allocated.
The logistics and planning involved in all these activities throughout the year, is simply incredibly complex and done with military precision.
On the lead up to the YST exhibition alone, we employ 40 volunteers for 4 weeks. These work on accommodation, catering and transport. Remember, we have 450 students and teachers arriving in Dar es Salaam for the exhibition. Most of these students are very poor and may never have travelled outside their region. Some may never have travelled on a bus. For sure most will never have stayed in a hotel.
And we cannot leave anything to chance. We also have to organise catering for all teachers and students, while travelling to Dar es Salaam from their regions.
We have our volunteers stationed at bus stations to meet every student on arrival in Dar. We accompany them safely to their hotels and remain with the students and teachers for 24 hours a day for their 3 days in Dar es Salaam. We have to oversee and enforce a strict child protection policy. Nothing can be left to chance. This is an incredible operation. Many of these 450 students and teachers will be on the road to the exhibition for 2 to 3 days to and from the exhibition and we have to take care of everything!
Unlike Ireland, the roads to some of the regions are very bad and buses do break down. We manage all the travel logistics on Whatsapp groups. It is a military precision task and nobody rests until all 450 students and teachers have safely returned to their homes some 2/3 days after the exhibition
The same logistics applies to our regional workshops throughout the year. I could write a book about these planning logistics alone.
For all of the reasons above, you will agree that it would be incorrect and an over simplification to say that YST is the same as YS in Ireland.
As Tony Scott said, it was far easier for him to start the Young Scientist in Ireland back in the 1960’s as he hadn’t to worry about all these challenges and most importantly he didn’t have to worry about the challenge of the lack of a science culture in schools.
This is why we place such a strong emphasis on the YST Science Outreach Programme.
Regional Selection of Projects
Tanzania will soon have a population of 60,000,000 +. In order to reach all schools in Tanzania, we will need to expand our YST Science Outreach Programme in each region. We will need to organise the screening of projects in all the regions in order to select the top projects to be showcase at the annual exhibition.
We already have plans to pilot this proposal in Mtwara this year. If successful we will use the template to expand to all 30 regions in Tanzania. This will be a huge operation but it is do-able. In a few years we could be reaching 1,200 schools.
Before I conclude: The great thing about The Young Scientists Tanzania model is the fact that it is transferrable to any developing country.
The Tanzanian model of combining the quality Science Outreach Programme with the YST exhibition is a model that works… Put simply without any exaggeration, Science for Development Works.
Thank you. It has been a very rewarding journey. I look forward to hearing Dr. Doggett and Dr. Kamugisha talk about their exciting YST and YSTSOP journey, and then the three of us will answer your questions.
Please follow on the following links:
New Updates on Young Scientists Tanzania
This following information and updates were added to original talk on 17th February 2016 and presented at any new seminars to highlight new developments.
New UPDATE: 22th July 2016: YST Mtwara Regional exhibition.
The YST Mwrara Regional Exhibition happened. The feedback from the pilot of the Mtwara regional selection of projects for the YST 2016 is fantastic. 40 schools from the region presented projects and 10 schools were selected to present in Dar on 10/11th August. We were thrilled when the Minister for Education, Prof Joyce Ndaliko decided to travel to Mtwara to attend the Mtwara pilot.
By any standards we think this is a great achievement. Without our many sponsors this could not continue but without the great YST team, it would never have happened.
26th August 2016:
YST 2016 was another amazing success and the overall winners were Diana and Nadhra from Mtwara Girls Secondary School. We moved location and the YST2016 exhibition was held in the Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam.
New Update: 9th January 2017
YST 2016 winners, Diana and Nadhra, arrived in Ireland for the BTYSTE in January 2017. They spent 5 days in Ireland. Videos of their experiences can be found on website. Updated: 30th January 2017
2015 - YST Model is spreading to other countries-Kenya
First Visit to Kenya-July 2015
Other countries are now looking at the Tanzanian model. Following a call from Dr. Vincent O’Neill, New Ambassador to Kenya, I was invited to Nairobi in July 2015 to discuss the potential of the project moving to Kenya. Vincent had heard about the success of the YST project in Tanzania from a Board member living in Kenya. On my initial visit, I briefed Vincent on the model and assured him that the YS was a transferrable model. I outlined the two components of the Tanzanian model. YS Exhibition modelled on the exhibition in Ireland and the Extensive Science Outreach Programme as developed in Tanzania.
Following this meeting, Garvan McCann, Second Secretary, Irish Embassy in Kenya travelled to the YST 2015 exhibition in Dar es Salaam. As guest, he saw the transformational impact of the Young Scientist Tanzania programme.
Vincent and I, then met Tony Scott at the RDS, Dublin in August 2015 to discuss the proposal for Kenya and to explore the transfer of the YS model to Kenya
Second Visit to Kenya- October 2015
Dr. Kamugisha and I, were then invited to Nairobi in October 2015 by the Embassy, for four days to share the experiences and advice on setting up YS Kenya. We met officials from Government, University Officials and Private Sector and the Irish Community. I developed a concept note on the way forward for the YSK.
Following this meeting, two Kenyan Officials, Willis Ogoth and Simon Mururi travelled to Dublin January 2016 to visit the BTYSTE Exhibition. I organised their itinerary in Dublin and liaised with Dr. Tony Scott. It was great to see their buy-in. Both acknowledge the potential of the YS model in Kenya.
I organised a meeting at the RDS, with Tony Scott and Joe Vaughan to discuss the progress in Kenya and the transfer of the YS template to Kenya
Third Visit to Kenya- June 2016
Vincent O’Neill invited me to Nairobi for more follow-up meetings in June 2016 and to speak at a Business Breakfast Meeting for invited guests from Education, Government and Private sector business.
Fourth Visit to Kenya-July 2016
Vincent invited me back to Kenya again in July 2016 to meet a potential YSK sponsor and meet Government officials. It was a pleasure and privilege to be in a position to offer advice and guidance on such an amazing model. In July 2016, the YST documentary team, The Nkuppi Bros also travelled to Nairobi with me to assist in developing a launch video for the Irish Embassy Kenya.
Following this visit to Kenya, a delegation of six from the Kenya Ministry of Education, NACOSTI and KSEF visited the YST 2016 exhibition in Dar es Salaam in August 2016, along with an official from the Irish Embassy in Kenya.
I organised their itinerary and hotels while in Tanzania. The delegation was introduced to the YST team. Over the two days the YST team involved the Kenyan delegation in learning activities that introduce them to all aspects of the event management and organisation of the event in Dar. Members of the delegation were also involved in the Judging at YST2016. We were very happy to provide the necessary guidance and advice to our colleagues in Kenya.
Fifth Visit to Kenya-11th November 2016
I returned to Kenya on 11th November 2016, following an invitation from Irish Ambassador to Kenya, Dr. Vincent O’Neill. I stayed in Nairobi for two weeks to work on YST logistics such as launch and pilot budgets/strategy/documentation/ advice on Board formation. Worked with the newly recruited YSK consultant in Kenya. Had important meeting with Sylvia Mulinge, Director- Consumer Business Unit, Safaricom, a potential sponsor for YSK and gave a presentation about YS and YST. Other work included preparations of Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association for YSK, preparation of documents for signing YSK MOUs between the MoE and the Irish Embassy and to prepare for the visit to Kenya of MoS Joe McHugh. Worked on transferring Fact file and Sponsorship documents/website and Twitter accounts.
Sixth Visit to Kenya-Feb 2017
On 20th February 2017, I returned to Kenya following the invitation from Dr. Vincent O’Neill, Irish Ambassador to Kenya to assist the embassy in strategic planning for YSK. Had a meeting with Zaheeda Suleman from Safaricom. Gave a presentation about the YS and YST model.
Worked with newly recruited consultant on revised itemised budgets for YSK launch and YSK pilot and itemised contract agreement with Safaricom.
Liaised with Tony Scott about his visit to launch in Kenya.
Seventh Visit to Kenya-June 2017
Dr. Vincent O’Neill invited me to Kenya for two weeks to work on the official launch of YSK. I worked on the launch and school outreach programme from 22nd June to 6th July. Gave a presentation to nominated Board members. YSK was eventually launched on 5th July 2017. It was a pleasure to have assisted in the development of the YS project there. After seven visits to Kenya and two years since my first visit, YSK was eventually and highly successfully launched. Travelled to schools in Nairobi with Tony. Met Niall Burgess and Ruairi De Burka and had an opportunity to mention the potential impact of Science for Development.