We engage with young people from community-based schools in Harare through our school engagement programme that is currently being implemented on multiple studies. The main objective of this programme is to provide a platform for students with a passion for science to express their ideas & develop projects in a structured fashion as well as to expose them to healthcare & research professionals to inform their career aspirations. The programme chiefly consists of science clubs, science fairs, research field trips and internships for the students that we actively coordinate and provide resources.
The mandate of this part programme is to host two one-day science fairs at the schools we have chosen which are Mabvuku High School & Mhuriimwe Highfield High School. The science fairs will take place at the school premises during a school term and will consist of 'science projects & gaming stalls' that will be supervised by the research team. The stalls will be designated to students that have science projects to showcase as well as science games & quizzes stalls to engage students that will be in attendance. The main theme of the science fairs is "Ideas for Science and Health" which will allow students to focus their project ideas on science being applied to health.
The science fairs aim to:
- give students with a passion for science a platform to present their ideas to peers in a stimulating creative environment.
- allow students to interact with healthcare professionals in science to explore how science is linked to health and to broaden their career prospects.
The science clubs initiative is an extra-curricular, mentor-based science programme for Zimbabwean high school students. They are currently being conducted at Mabvuku High School and Mhuriimwe Highfield High School where permission was granted by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to have students engage with health research led by the Biomedical Research & Training Institute (BRTI).
This programme is being implemented through the following studies:
IMVASK: IMpact of Vertical HIB=V infection on child and Adolescent SKeletal development in Harare
CHIEDZA: Community based interventions to Improve HIV outcomes in young people: A cluster randomised trial in Zimbabwe
VITALITY: VITamin D for Adolescents with HIV to reduce musculoskeletal morbidity and ImmunopaTHologY
ERASE-TB: Early risk assessment in TB contacts by new diagnostics tests
- to encourage independent and self-directed scientific curiosity in high school students.
- to encourage high school students to develop scientific projects in structured fashion.
- to encourage a structured approach to scientific communication in high school students.
- to allow high school students to interact with healthcare professionals in science broaden their career aspirations
Science clubs will involve 4 standardized sessions that our research team will solely coordinate and lead in collaboration with school science heads of departments. Each of the sessions are themed around defining science, developing ideas for science projects and projects development, careers talks, science debates and science games/quizzes. The science club curriculum will also involve field trips to the BRTI laboratories during a school term and 2 "two-week research internships" at the various study sites above during school term holidays.