If you have been reading recent blog posts on this site you will know that I have been writing about the third annual Young Scientists Tanzania competition … coming to you en direct from Dar es Salaam! You’ll find my tweets (@arickard) and those of YST (@ystanzania) and others on Twitter. You can also search for tweets with #yst2014.
I’ve had a fantastic journey, both literally and metaphorically, for the past two weeks. One of the reasons behind the trip is for us to work out ways for teachers and student teachers from Ireland to come here in the future to work with YST and to enable Tanzanian teachers to spend time in Ireland. I felt there could be a role for us in supporting the Young Scientists and an opportunity to learn from our Tanzanian sisters and brothers through exchange. I feel that all the more strongly now and I am returning to Ireland with the aim of developing this idea further. Stay tuned!
Writing this blog has helped me to process some of my impressions from the trip and of course to inform people about YST2014. I’ve tried to reflect on the role and significance of this event as I see it, though I am aware that I am only scratching the surface.
Before I return home I would also like to mention the supports that have not only made the YST event happen, but have enabled me to get here this summer. I’ve been able to afford this fantastic trip thanks to the support of Irish Aid (under the auspices of the Ubuntu Network, which is the organisation that promotes and supports Development Education in Initial Teacher Education).
The work of Irish Aid is seldom flaunted but this branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been very important in supporting development projects overseas and in promoting Development Education at home and have been doing so for decades. It seems to me that Irish Aid tends not to brag too much about its own work, perhaps preferring the discreet ‘behind the scenes’ position, which might be the best of all vantage points. But I do think it is worth boasting about their work – and not just because I’ve been so jammy as to spend a fortnight in Tanzania!
In the case of Irish Aid’s support to Young Scientists Tanzania I am struck by the close relationship that has been created with British Gas who are the lead sponsors of YST. These two entities have enabled something very special to happen in Tanzania and their cooperation is a great testament to the increasingly friendly relationship between Ireland and the UK. It is a wonderful example of international cooperation, development and educational innovation. Put simply: I think it is very nice that both Britain and Ireland have reasons to feel proud of YST.
On Monday Salma and Dhariha, the YST 2014 winners, will be honoured at a reception hosted by the government of Unguja and Pemba. Dylan and Johannes (some of whose fabulous photographs I’ve supplemented with my own on this blog) have travelled with the Zanzibari delegation this weekend to record the reception and document these happy and proud moments for posterity. They have been documenting all of this year’s event … on a voluntary basis I might add! Two more superheroes who’ve been behind YST scenes (or perhaps more accurately in front of them!) these past few weeks. We will begin to see some videos and more photos about YST2014 online in the next few weeks. Another reason to stay tuned!