Energising science fair in Grahamstown

By Sascha Glowik

15/04/2014

Can I really produce energy with that bicycle? How does a solar panel work? Who can I contact when I have trouble with my parents?

 These are some of the frequent questions that 68 000 young visitors were asking while visiting the stand of GIZ at the science fair in Grahamstown in March. Colleagues from the Skills for Green Jobs (SfGJ) and the Multisectoral HIV and AIDS Prevention (MHIVP) programmes presented GIZ and their projects to the young audience at the event.

 Supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the German Embassy, several German companies like Siemens, Festo and BASF built the German cluster at the fair to showcase German technology and expertise.

 SfGJ colleagues used a small lab to explain, in a hands-on manner, how photovoltaic panels or energy-generating wind turbines work. Therefore the “R&D Department” of SfGJ created a stationary bicycle that charged batteries via a generator while someone pedals. After some exhausting minutes of hitting the pedals the batteries had charged enough energy to send cars of a Carrera slot racing around the circuit and providing lots of fun (although the fun only lasted for a few minutes and the next volunteer for a charging exercise had to
be identified...)

Representatives from LoveLife, a non-governmental organisation that MHIVP is supporting, talked to hundreds of young people from the Eastern Cape every day of the festival about modern communication methods for counselling.

They also gave advice on sexual reproductive health, including information on HIV and AIDS. Next to the stand, the “body maps” exhibition provided moving stories about people living with HIV or AIDS and gave the visitors a chance to sit and read through the emotional stories.