Nigerian girls build robots to tackle waste
Pupils from Government Girls Secondary School Dutse work on their science project aimed at extracting harmful chemicals from non-biodegradable waste and turning the rest intofuel. Fifteen-year-old Audam Peace (far left) wants to become a gynaecologist. She says determination matters most to achieving any goalJon Spaull
To turn waste into useful recycled substances, the girls set up a condenser that will turn gases into liquids that can be used for energy productionJon Spaull
Pupils from Junior Secondary School Area 11 with their solar power project, demonstrating how solar cells can power household fittings, including a fan and light bulb. Uhegbu Ljeoma (far left) says the project opened her eyes to the world of science. She is now determined to pursue a career in technologyJon Spaull
A pupil wires a solar cell, an important element within the science project her class is carrying out on domestic solar powerJon Spaull
Stella Uzochukwu-Denis from the Odyssey Educational Foundation shows girls from Government Girls Secondary School Dutse how to build a robot.The foundation hosted the First Lego League challenge, in Abuja. In this competition, students programmed Lego robots donated by the toy firm to achieve a waste-based goalJon Spaull
The First Lego League challenge involves technical skills as well as creativity. As the robot takes shape, the girls learn to carefully follow instructions while also making their creation unique to impress the judgesJon Spaull
The participants put Lego pieces in position for the First Lego League Trash Trek challenge. This involves programming a robot to pick up and then drop off pieces of rubbish on a playing areaJon Spaull
Two girls work on the Trash Trek challenge.The First Lego League brings research challenges facing todays scientists to schools all over the world. Pupils must embrace critical thinking and team work, and are empowered by heling to solve real-life problemsJon Spaull
Sixteen-year-old Lawal Alaifan Karimah makes sure the robot is programmed correctly so that it moves across the board picking up garbage and dropping it off in the correct places. She says that a girl can do whatever a boy canJon Spaull
The robot has to be precisely aligned so that it picks up the garbage firmlyJon Spaull
A programmed robot moves across the playing area to collect garbageJon Spaull
The organisation was set up by Stella Uzochukwu-Denis in 2013, after she travelled to India to complete an MSc. Set on pursuing a career in the telecommunications industry, she changed her mind when she discovered that school clubs in India taught children programming and provided extra STEM tuition. Inspired by the experience, she returned home determined to offer the same service to Nigerian children.
These photos were taken at the Government Girls Secondary School Dutse and the Junior Secondary School Area 11.
On 30 January, Nigeria hosted the First Lego League challenge, facilitated by the foundation. In this international competition, students program Lego mini robots to achieve a specific task. This year more than 233,000 competitors from 81 countries took up the challenge titled Trash Trek. It involved programming the robots to pick up and drop off pieces of garbage on a playing area, as well as demonstrating research projects related to the topic of waste.
The two schools presented projects involving recycling, waste disposal and solar energy for domestic use.