Last Saturday, March 23, 18 Daraja girls spent the day in the nearby town of Nanyuki, where they participated in the local Science Congress. The day before, these nine teams (of two girls each) practiced, by presenting the presentations they’d spent the last few months working on to all Daraja students and staff. The goal of the Science Congress – a competitive local science fair – is “to develop a passion of research in young scientists,” and to “encourage young scientists to appreciate their environment as they offer solutions to contemporary problems in society.” Each team chose a topic that they were interested in exploring; then, they created their own experiments to test the topics and gain a conclusion.

DSC_0006Here’s a look at just a few of girls’ projects:

  • Pascalina and Mary K. – Asked what the purpose of greenhouses is, in terms of growing crops, and determined that greenhouses serve to increase the yield and quality of crops.
  • Esther and Molly – Wondered if it would be possible to make chemical free shoe polish because popular shoe polishes sold in stores contain too many chemicals. They determined that it would be possible, but that the outcome of the polished shoes would not have the same desired effect as the chemical shoe polish would.
  • Ann and Ann – Observed that hedgehogs have spines that protect them, and wondered if similar spines could be created to protect airplanes in case of crashes.
  • Irene N. and Naomi – Saw that cancer is very prominent in Kenya and that inexpensive hair shampoo has lots of chemicals. They wondered if creating a chemical-free shampoo would be just as effective and determined that it would be possible, but the shampoo they made contained raw eggs and so it would not preserve longer than a few days. In addition, they surmised that if someone were allergic to eggs they would not be able to use this homemade shampoo.

At the local Science Congress, twenty high schools gathered to compete, and Daraja came in 3rd place! Seven of our nine teams are advancing to the next round (including Teddy and Lilian, Mesret and Charity, Alice and Rosalia, Molly and Esther, Florence and Moreen, Pascalina and Mary, and Naomi and Irene). The next leg of the competition will be at the county level in Ig