Unlike previous years, when Ghana has had winners in the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, this year, no winners at the continental final held in Lagos, Nigeria.
Competing with the students from other African countries was Emmanuel Gyekye Atta-Penkra, of Prempeh College and John Kwame Dom of Simms Senior High School national winners from Ghana. The competition which has been running in Ghana for the last six years attracted schools from different regions around the country.
However this year, students from Ethiopia and Nigeria scored big at 6th edition of DStv Eutelsat Star Awards organised by Eutelsat and MultiChoice Africa. The best students were Leoul Mesfin from Ethiopia who won the essay prize and Emmanuel Ochenjele from Nigeria who won the poster prize.
The DStv Eutelsat Star Awards aim to stimulate interest in science and technology and inspire innovative thinking among secondary and high school students in Africa, create awareness on how science/technology can be applied to everyday life. It also showcased many ways satellites impact the African continents development.
The DStv Eutelsat Star Awards encourages 14 to 19 year-old students to write an essay or design a poster on a satellite-related topic. This year, students were asked to create a new age satellite to solve Africa’s future problems and students were to answer through essays and posters.
The winners of this year’s DStv Eutelsat Star Awards, the unique pan-African competition that encourages young minds to explore innovative thinking in science and space technology was announced in Nigeria.
The sixth edition attracted over 1000 entries from 20 countries. Levels of accuracy, creativity and originality were judged to be higher than ever before, both in the essay and poster categories.
“Mesfin’s entry,” according to a statement from the organisers, “Particularly struck the judges as it considered continental and country specific needs and closely aligns to the topic.” He has won a trip to Paris and onwards to a launch site to witness a rocket blast into space to place a satellite into orbit.
In the poster category, first place went to Emmanuel Ochenjele from Nigeria for his depiction of a constellation of diverse satellites all contributing towards the advancement of solutions to challenges such as global warming, conservation of biodiversity, as well as stable energy supply. He will visit Eutelsat in Paris to understand how satellites are operated, as well as a satellite factory. The winning schools will be rewarded with a DStv installation, including dish, TV set, PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet.
Claudie Haigneré, Europe’s leading female astronaut and now special advisor to the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), chaired the jury of the Awards for the first time. She commented: “Taking part in the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards for the first time has been quite simply a mind-changing experience, especially as this year’s topic was particularly challenging.”
According to a statement, she added that, “The visionary ideas on Africa’s future satellite landscape developed in essays and posters underscore how Africa’s youth expect technology to drive positive change for their continent.”
“The Jury engaged in intense discussions to award the most realistic and creative proposals that deserve to stand out on the African stage. Our congratulations go to all the finalists for their work and to the winners for their brilliant ideas.”
She was assisted in her duty by a panel of international skilled industry experts: Ronke Bello, CEO at Innovative Technology Literacy Services Ltd (Nigeria), Elizabeth Ohene, journalist and former Minister of State to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (Ghana).
The others are Prof. Stephen Simukanga; Former University of Zambia Chancellor and now Director General of the Higher Education Authority and Jenerali Ulimwengu, well known writer, columnist and lawyer.