Eight entrepreneurs from across sub-Saharan Africa, including Young at Heart Ghana’s Josephine Marie Godwyll, have been awarded funding to harness the engineering and business skills of their organisation’s to help tackle the spread of COVID-19.
With UK government funding through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Project CARE (COVID Africa Rapid Entrepreneurs) was initiated by the Royal Academy of Engineering in early April as the virulence and rapid transmission of COVID-19 gripped countries around the world. The Academy already works extensively with engineers across sub-Saharan Africa, and this new initiative is an extension of this partnership supporting small and medium engineering businesses to re-focus their work to help address the challenges of COVID-19.
The Project CARE initiative means that Young at Heart Ghana, run by Josephine Marie Godwyll and her team, are able to support children across Ghana to continue to learn remotely and safely despite COVID-19.
Commenting on Josephine’s success, British High Commissioner to Ghana Iain Walker said: “Project CARE has rightly recognised the agile and important contribution Josephine and her team at Young at Heart Ghana have made to the country’s education system.”
“Their innovative work supplements the efforts of the Ministry of Education, to ensure that children across Ghana continue to access quality and vital education despite the restrictions and difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.” – he added
More than 50 people applied for funding through Project CORE, and only eight were chosen to receive funding including entrepreneurs from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa as well as Ghana. Each of the successful candidates received £5,000 to support them in scaling up their COVID response.
Talking about her work, Josephine Marie Godwyll said: “Remote learning platforms have never been more essential. The benefits of e-learning have been further illuminated not only as an alternative but a necessity due to the disruptions in traditional approaches to learning in these atypical times. Ananse At Home, is a homeschooling program based on the ‘Ananse The Teacher’ e-learning platform, which uses stories and games to explore learning modules in STEM, Art and literacy, through hands-on activities conducted with everyday materials found at home.”
“Designed with a full awareness of the constraints associated to access, the app can be deployed on both phones and computers through both online and offline engagement. We believe this program, which is part of the Lab and Library on Wheels project, is the kind of disruptive innovation that is needed especially in such a disruptive time.” – she further explained
Josephine’s team have created the Ananse The Teacher App, which has been adapted into a homeschooling program called Ananse@Home. The free app provides a range of home-learning modules for children aged 8 – 14. These modules focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as literacy and art. Participants receive module instructions and activities every week. The program also enables parents, who are having to act as teachers, to access a network of teachers and mentors who can provide extra support and answer questions.
The Statement from the British High Commission added: “Project CARE will continue to work with manufacturers and other partners to provide innovative answers to the challenged of COVID-19.”
About PROJECT CARE
This aspect of Project CARE is being supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which funds interdisciplinary research addressing sustainable development challenges. It allows UK researchers and experts within developing countries to focus on specific challenges such as: clean air, water and sanitation, sustainable livelihoods, human rights and social justice. It is a £1.5bn Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy fund, which forms part of the UK Government’s Official Development Assistance commitment. Delivered by: Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, Department for Education Northern Ireland, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Scottish Funding Council, UK Research and Innovation and UK Space Agency.
Project CARE’s complementary areas of activity include:
• Supporting engineering entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa to make and supply PPE that can be used effectively in local hospitals and clinics;
• Leveraging the local know-how gained to encourage and support other groups globally to increase supply of fit-for-purpose PPE.
Full list of recipients of the funding:
• Josephine Marie Godwyll – Lab & Library on Wheels – Ghana
• Catherine Wanjoya – Slimlak Agencies – Kenya
• Osewe Collince Oluoch – ChanjoPlus – Kenya
• Frida Njogu-Ndongwe – Afyakit – Kenya
• Chinenye Justin Nwaogwugwu – Macjames Global Resources Limited – Nigeria
• Victor Boyle-Komolafe – GIVO (Garbage In, Value Out) – Nigeria
• Aishat Raheem – Farmz2U – Nigeria
• Linah Pununu Maphanga – Farmers Assistant – South Africa
Source: British High Commission, Accra