Since our inception in 2008, we have led over a dozen workshops in Liberia. Following the philosophy of “if you teach a man to fish…” we have focused on educating and inspiring teachers so that they can pass on knowledge and enthusiasm to their students.
We have also emphasized practical, hands-on laboratory exercises to build intuition of mathematics and physical concepts. Many teachers in Liberia never had the opportunity to be formally trained in their field, and are largely self-taught from donated textbooks. To bridge the gap between their book knowledge and its relevance to real-life concepts, we have always encouraged teachers to perform low-cost experiments and demonstrations with locally available materials.
Please see our Gallery for photos from our teaching trips throughout the years.
The Science Olympiad is a series of live competitions hosted annually by I-HELP Liberia in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Education with the purpose of promoting enthusiasm and interest in the sciences among Liberian high school students. Teams from dozens of schools across Liberia prepare all year to compete in the Science Olympiad, and the winning schools receive resources to advance their science education programs, such as mobile laboratory systems and microscopes.
Based on both speed and knowledge, the Science Olympiad encourages Liberian students not just to learn, but to excel in the sciences. The prospect of competition allows students to associate a clear purpose with the curriculum that they learn in classes, and the exhilaration of speed-based responses paired with interesting and relevant question material helps students to come to their own conclusion that science is both important and fun. Individual competition circuits, separated by location, are designed to promote an environment of excellence, so that the actions of students push each other to excel. As the Science Olympiad is naturally a spectator event, it aids in promoting interest in the sciences far beyond the scope of the teams competing.
Every year, the Science Olympiad draws on a growing bank of over 4000 questions, approximately 1000 of which are used in the tournament. Our questions are written and continually reviewed by some of America’s most talented high school and university STEM students, so that the information remains relevant, interesting, and reflects the latest scientific research. Questions are categorized by field and difficulty and further sub-categorized into the topics commonly found in high school curricula. This helps us measure the effectiveness of the Science Olympiad initiative and produces valuable information on the strengths and weaknesses of the Liberian science education curricula, which can then be shared with the Liberian Ministry of Education to aid in its efforts to improve education.
We are currently sponsoring 5 Liberian medical students at the A. M. Dogliotti College of Medicine as part of our efforts to create seeds of positive change within the Liberian community. Previous recipients of our scholarship include Dr. Jonathan Hart, who went on to open his own clinic and helped save countless lives during the Ebola crisis.
Our currently sponsored students:
- Kassimu Kaba – Fifth Year (Graduating 12/2017)
- Varmuyan A. Kromah – Fifth Year (Graduating 12/2017)
- Mahmoud Dukuly- Fourth Year (Graduating 12/2018)
- Forkpa Kemezee –Second Year (Graduating 12/2020)
- Babby Luke – Second Year (Graduating 12/2020)
We have been big proponents of bringing science out of the classroom and into the field. We have been distributing mini-mobile laboratory systems based on laptops and Vernier sensor technology on each of our teaching trips.
Our latest initiative has been to assemble a low-cost lab-in-a-box based on donated Android smartphones. Smartphones offer a number of sensors (accelerometer, barometer, magnetometer, etc) which can be used to explore and quantify the world. The opportunity for students to take real data strengthens their understanding of physics, chemistry, and quantitative reasoning.
Every year, we host a fundraising concert, the proceeds of which cover donations to schools and our transportation costs. After the 2015 Ebola crisis, we conducted a humanitarian drive to collect toiletries and first-aid supplies.
We also regularly collect used shoes and books to send to Liberian schools, orphanages, and families. To contribute to our cause, please visit our donation page.