If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply
I was lucky enough to win the Sustaining Health Zone in March 2015. Fortunately, the research institute where I work already has an excellent range of outreach opportunities, which I continue to enjoy participating in (when I can find time to escape the lab!). Therefore, I decided to use the money to support a pair of organisations helping students in less fortunate areas of the world.
The first of these is a charity called The Wulugu Project. They do amazing work in the poorest regions of Ghana in Africa, providing the chance for a real education to girls who would otherwise have no access to teaching. Since 1993, the charity has built or renovated over 40 schools! They also provide endless other support; everything from library books and computers, loans to support mothers sending their children to school, to footballs for PE lessons.
The Wulugu Project was founded by a retired teacher from my home county of Norfolk, so I am very happy to help a group with local links. So far the charity has improved the education of 250,000 girls in Ghana, and hopefully will help many more in the years to come.
The other organisation I am donating some of the prize money to is Read International. I am myself a huge fan of reading, but many children in developing counties have very little access to books. Read International is a charity from the UK, and they work hard to provide reading resources to students of all ages in the African country Tanzania. So far, they have created over 75 school libraries and donated around 1.5 million books!
While it is easy to feel like you’d rather be anywhere else but school some days, education is one of the most powerful tools for improving the world for future generations. I am extremely glad that my prize money has gone to such a good cause. Many thanks go to the I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here team for the opportunity, and of course to all the students who get so involved in the competitions!