By Boris Esono Nwenfor
(Yaounde, Cameroon) The 2019 edition of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) competition organized by the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation has been won by the Faculty of Mines and Oil Industries, Maroua.
Kapche Christian, Mekoulou Ondigui, Andela Jessica and Dissake Olivier with a project on Production of diesel fuel paraffinic from neem oil was crowned winners during the award ceremony November 30, 2019, at the Muna Foundation in Yaounde.
“We are so happy that we won the STEM prize as all our efforts have been rewarded. We had a fix objective to transform our economy, especially that of the extreme North. Cameroonians should not give up — when you have projects just continue to work on it,” Mekoulou Odigui Daniel explained.
They equally went home with a cash prize of FCFA 1. 5M, with the second place going home with FCFA 1M, and the third with FCFA 75, 000. FCFA 500, 000 each was awarded to the fourth and fifth positions.
Second position was won by L’institut Universitaire de Technologie Fotso Victor (IUT-FV), third position occupied by Institut des Sciences Économiques et des Technique Appliquées (ISET), University of Buea came in the fourth place while the University of Yaounde 1 came in the fifth place.
To Odette Kibu, Health Policy Analyst, and Coordinator of the STEM Prize, “What we expected from the team is that they should implement their projects that they proposed to the foundation. We are expecting them to use the funds giving them to implement their projects, so they can see how to positively impact their communities,” She said while adding that, “Every three months, we will be following them up to see how far they have implemented the project because we don’t want to give money, and not to follow them up.”
To her, the foundation received 63, applications this year as compared to 48 last year. “In addition, 93 girls entered the competition compared to 82 last year. Applications were received from eight regions of the country, but we are hoping that next year’s edition will feature applications from all the ten regions of the country.”
“We have already working on the project we presented (HAS 2.0). We were just looking for how we can get funds for the project to continue but giving the outcome, we are going to look for funds elsewhere as we were trained on how to attract funds for our projects,” noted Durell Dogmo, team member UB.
Various teams equally did a brief demonstration of their projects to the watching of those in attendance. Some projects include, the Home Automation Systems (HAS) proposed by those from University of Buea, LANDPAD – a tablet with a set of applications to digitalize agricultural plantations and optimize production from students at the University of Yaounde 1, Plastic waste bottles turned building blocks to construct eco-friendly residential houses by 2020 in Foumbot, by students from Institut des Sciences Économiques et des Technique Appliquées (ISET).
Fosi Jasmine from Institut des Sciences Économiques et des Technique Appliquées (ISET), was giving an individual award for being the youngest participant at this year’s event at 13-years-old, while Wadjom Eunice was equally honored for being the most dynamic person during the training.
Students from Quality international who had a project on “Hemo Android mobile application” won first position for the 2018 STEM competition, and equally went home with a cash prize of FCFA 1.5 million.
Students from Government Bilingual Grammar School Kumbo won the second prize with a project title, “Fighting Deforestation by substituting wood with mini biogas plants in restaurants by 2019 in Kumbo, North West Region of Cameroon.” The students went home with 1 million FCFA to help them in achieving their project.
ICT University came in third position winning FCFA 7, 50,000. They had a project called “Mediquick: Mobile application to ease access to healthcare information.”
The STEM Prize Competition was established to encourage young Cameroonians, especially girls and young women to pursue careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. From many applications received in this year’s edition, five (5) teams of motivated young men and women aged between 13 to 21 have been selected as Finalists. These young Cameroonians are working on innovative projects to improve the living conditions in their communities and the entire country.
“Our goal here is simple: Unleash the potential of our people to be able to tackle many challenges to economic prosperity by creating wealth for themselves and the community. History has taught us that this can only be done through science, technology and innovation.” Dr. Denis Foretia, CO-CHAIR, Foretia Foundation