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Students from St Louis Secondary School in Louth win Irish Aid Development Award

Students from St Louis Secondary School in Louth win The Irish Aid/Self Help Africa Science for Development Award at BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2022

The Minister for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy T.D., presented the Science for Development Award to Jona Garcia, Claudine Mulihano and Iman Shittu, students at St Louis Secondary School in County Louth at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition today.

Each year, the Irish Aid/Self Help Africa Science for Development Award goes to the Young Scientist project which best addresses challenges facing people in developing countries. This year’s prizewinning project has developed a renewable, electricity-free cooling system for food refrigeration.

Presenting the award, Minister Brophy said:

“The Science for Development Award allows students to develop ideas to address some of the big challenges facing the world, especially in some of the world’s poorest countries.

"I would like to congratulate this year’s deserved winners, Jona Garcia, Claudine Mulihano and Iman Shittu from St Louis Secondary School in Louth. Their project, a food refrigeration system driven by sunlight and saltwater, is climate smart and can help improve the food security of communities with limited, or no, access to electricity.

"Winning this year’s Science for Development Award is particularly impressive given the remarkably high standard of entries. I would like to congratulate all the other students who produced fascinating projects, each of which has the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives. It is wonderful to see so many young people using science to help create a better and more sustainable world.”

The winners receive a €6,000 bursary to enable a fact-finding/field testing visit together with their teacher to a country in Africa. The field trip for the 2022 winners will take place at a time when public health advice is that it is safe to travel.

Ms Orla Muldoon is the teacher of this year’s winners, who were entered in the senior group project category.


Press Release

14 January 2022


Notes for editors

BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

2022 marks the 58th year of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, making it one of the longest standing exhibitions of its kind in the world. This year the exhibition took place online for the second time. Entries were received from over 2,700 students. The 550 projects shortlisted for the virtual exhibition, span 219 schools from 29 counties.

Science for Development Award

Irish Aid, the Government’s international development cooperation programme managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, together with Irish NGO Self Help Africa organise a special category award at the BT Young Scientists Exhibition, known as the Science for Development Award. This is the seventeenth year of Irish Aid funding of this Award.

The Award aims to encourage teachers and students to develop ideas, using appropriate scientific technology, that may prove useful at local community level to reduce poverty and promote social justice in some of the world’s poorest countries. Preparing their entries can give the students a greater insight into the wider world, and their role as global citizens. The winners of the Award receive a perpetual trophy together with a €6,000 bursary to allow the students with their teacher to travel on a fact-finding/field testing visit to a country in Africa, in association with Self Help Africa.

The 2021 winner was Aronnya Khan Zakaria from Castletroy College in Limerick. Aronnya's project was called 'The Development of Racial Prejudice in Children: a Statistical Analysis on the Influence of Society and Home Life on a Child's Thoughts and Attitudes towards Racism'. The project sought to identify why some people learn to view the world through racist stereotypes. She decided to focus her research on young children, interviewing 5 -7 year olds in Ireland and in Bangladesh with their parents and researching potential influences on racism from each country.

The 2020 winners were Salome Maher Bordalo and Sophie McElligott of St. Joseph’s Mercy Secondary School, Navan, with their project called ‘Period’. The students were concerned that many girls, especially in poorer countries, miss school during their periods because they do not have access to sanitary products. They created an ethical period product which would be cheap and easy to produce but which would also have minimum effect on the environment. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, they could not travel to Africa in 2021 as planned but will travel at a later date.
The 2019 winner was Seán Byrne from Avondale Community College in County Wicklow. Seán's project explored the use of a low cost eggshell filtration system to remove heavy metal pollutants from water. The system has the added benefit of removing microplastics from the water at the same time. Seán travelled to Zambia with Self Help Africa in early 2020 to field test the invention.

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