By Merit Ibe
Henkel Nigeria has promised to contribute to the economy by empowering young talents through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), drive and amplify its involvement in community relations through Researchers’ World (Forscherwelt).
Henkel strives to be at the forefront of supporting governmental programmes, such as the country’s education ambitions.
Researchers’ World is an educational initiative designed by Henkel to introduce children into the fascinating world of science. Since its inauguration at Henkel’s Düsseldorf headquarters in April 2011, more than 62,000 children around the world have taken part in the programmes. Since then, the education initiative has become global. There are “Forscherwelt projects” in Argentina Brazil, Chile, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, UAE and USA and now in Nigeria, as of November 2021.
The programme was launched in Oyo State and sessions will continue in this state until the end of June 2022. Phase 2 of the strategy will see Researcher’s World enter Lagos State in July 2022.
“We are committed to shaping a purposeful future for next generation,” explained Rajat Kapur, managing director for Henkel Nigeria. “Our goal was always to start small and then expand throughout Nigeria so that children around the country will be exposed to the fascinating world of science.”
Dr. Ute Krupp, Forscherwelt’s global coordinator, remarked that Researcher’s World gives young children all over the world a fascinating introduction into the world of science and what it means to be a researcher through the hands-on teaching methodology.
“The children gain first insights into research processes and can apply this knowledge to future tasks as the first contact with science leaves a very positive impression and may encourage the participants to later choose a scientific profession,” she asserted.
Krupp said the programme has several impacts. “Firstly, it introduces children to science at a young age when they are open and curious about such subjects and this can spark their curiosity and influence their future educational choices. Secondly, it encourages and inspires the teachers to integrate science into the primary education curriculum by showing that this is possible even without a complicated and expensive equipment.”
For Damilola Asaleye, coordinator, Girls and Women Technological Empowerment Organisation (GWTEO), the non-governmental organisation executing the Researcher’s World training in Nigeria, the mode of learning will produce future citizens that are more resilient and persistent in solving societal problems instead of shying away from challenges.
She said they have been able to adapt the global Researcher’s World training in the country. “We have been able to incorporate a lot of related specimens to make learning more relatable for the children. It will take a gradual process to fully adapt the global syllabus to the Nigerian system but so far, we are making tangible progress in this direction.”
She said the Researcher’s World initiative can thrive effectively across the 36 states in Nigeria and will be a transformational and strategic nation-building tool especially in shaping the minds of future talents.
This is what Henkel intends to achieve with Researcher’s World, to empower young talents through science, technology, engineering and math.