STEMpower News

Ethiopian STEM Students Celebrate ETRSS-1 in Orbit

On December 20, 2019, Ehiopia’s first earth observatory satellite “ETRSS-1” launched into space.  The 70-kilogram (155 lbs weight) Remote Sensing Satellite was carried into orbit aboard a Long March 4B rocket, blasting off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Xinzhou, North China province.

Before the launching of ETRSS-1 satellite, there had been few scientific resources devoted to observe Ethiopia’s agricultural, climate, mining, and natural resources. The successful deployment of the ETRSS-1 orbiter is bringing to the nation a consistent real-time access to a wide range of environmental observation.

https://youtu.be/eFBuvqD2T9A?t=15
ETRSS-1 Live launching on ETV

That data is already being downloaded to the spacecraft’s command & control center, known as the Entoto Observatory and Space Science Research Center (“EORC”), and sited atop Mount Entoto, at the western edge of Ethopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.

Entoto Ground Station Control Center

Data downloaded includes weather conditions, surface water patterns, crop distribution, land use, and other environmental data – all of which is already being studied by Ethiopian scientists.

For 14 years, the STEMpower team has been bringing hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math study) to many thousands of pre-university students across Ethiopia.  Our mission is to imbue students with permanent practical actionable engineering skills, so that those students will be empowered to build their nation, into the future.

Kotebe Metropolitan University, Menelik I Science Shared Campus Students

The STEMpower team has initiated, financed, constructed, and lab-enabled 25 STEM Centers, hosted by public universities and national research institutes in Ethiopia, plus more in other nearby nations.  Our team also supports the annual Ethiopian National Science Fair competition, more than 75 virtual computer labs, a popular national STEM TV television show, and many more types of programs that together constitute a national movement.

We also act on opportunities that become available.  Earlier this year, the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office realized that our STEM students could become an important part of the nation’s budding space program.  By exposing our pre-university STEM students to the nation’s space program, some of these students would naturally orient their careers towards a solid foundation in space science & engineering.  The jobs filled by competent and experienced Ethiopians represents yet another way Ethiopia becomes an independent and productive nation.

Therefore, STEMpower responded to the Prime Minister Office invitation, by bringing 500 talented STEM students to visit the facilities of the EORC and its parent organization, the Ethiopian Space, Science, and Technology Institute. (”ESSTI”).

Selected Students from different STEM Centers, visiting EORC

The visiting students have been learning at the STEM Centers at public universities in the diverse cities of Hawassa, Bahir Dar, Kalamino/Mekele, as well as the STEM Centers of Addis Ababa area universities at Kotebe Metropolitan and Addis Ababa Science Technology, and also the STEM Center of the Menelik I Science Shared Campus high-school.

During their visit, the STEM students learned many technical concepts regarding their nation’s space program, as well as new ways to utilize their STEM Center lab equipment, and foster their understanding of innovation, technology, and astronomy, as they spread Ethiopian culture to the world.

The EORC and ESSTI professional staff reported afterwards that they were amazed by the pertinent and detailed questions asked by the STEM students, who already were highly engaged in engineering and robotics.

Biruktawit Mersha, from KMUMSSC

Biruktawite Mersha a grade 12 student from Kotebe Metropolitan University Menelik I Science Shared Campus said, “I have learned that the Ethiopian astronomical field is in progress to discover more things. My visit and the staff I met here motivates me to follow my passion to work for my country’s development.”

EAS STEM Center students, Yonatan, to the left, Ananya, right

Yonatan Assebe a grade 12 student from the Ethiopian Academy of Science STEM Center, said, “I have seen the telescopes and equipment and their function. I found them motivational.  It is good to see our country has achieved technological advancement.” 

Ananya Fikremariam a grade 12 student from the Ethiopian Academy of Science STEM Center, for his part said, “Since I was a kid, I was interested in astronomy. But, this country has done little in the sector. As a result, I was unable to get any access to visit this site. So, launching a satellite and visiting Satellite receiver ground station is interesting and fascinating for me.”

STEMpower Students across STEM Centers

STEMpower is privileged to have had its STEM Center students take part in this historic event. We continue to provide access to hands-on STEM education throughout Ethiopia to foster the space generation in Ethiopia and Africa.

"Inside every child is a scientist." Mark Gelfand

Read More

The National Science and Engineering Fair Competition

GFCT-STEMpower co-organized the fourth Annual Ethiopian Science and Engineering Fair competition, held November 6-10, 2019, at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, located in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The event (synchronized with World Science Day) brought together 254 diverse and talented Ethiopian students, representing all regional states.  Those students learn their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills at the nation’s ever-increasing number of STEM Centers, as well as at interested public and private schools.

11 Winners of the STEM Teacher’s Competition drawn from all of Ethiopia’s regions

The Science Fair student participants utilize the many advanced skills they learned at their local STEM Centers and schools. The students create actual working solutions to real problems. A total of 187 projects (some of them large) were transported to Addis Ababa, along with the 254 student participants.

The logistics is a remarkable achievement, considering how far some of the students reside from the national capital. The Science Fair is a wonderful way for diverse students to share experiences with fellow students who come from different cultures and traditions. 

The national event’s student participants were the winners of their earlier local hometown Science Fairs.  Approximately 2500 students nationwide this year participated in those local Science Fairs.

Students unveiled their projects

Ethiopian Science Fair students demonstrate problem-solving projects, such as Wheel Chair Design, Smart Blind Stick, Radar-Controlling System, Multipurpose Security System, Motorized Tricycles and many more working engineering and robotics models.

Volunteer judges from the international Addis Ababa community carefully evaluate those projects, using a rubric scoring method.

Grade 12 female student Afrah Hussine (a student at the EAS STEM center) won first-prize for her Stair climbing Wheel Chair. Similarly, Meron Mulatu and Natoli Hunduma (students from Kotebe Metropolitan University Menelik II Science Shared Campus) won a first-prize, and students from AAIT STEM Center won an award for their Smart Blind Stick innovation.

During his opening speech at the award ceremony, Dr. Tilaye Getie,Ethiopia’s Minister of Education, said, “Our National Science Fair creates a platform for students and teachers to share experience from each other and nurture their creativity and innovation skills.” He stressed that the engagement in STEM enrichment programs is vital for students to enhance their skills with hands-on STEM labs, as well as to promote the culture of innovation in Ethiopia.

Unity Park: Top View

GFCT-STEMpower also provided tickets and transportation for all 254 student participants to visit the Grand Palace in Addis Ababa.  That historical building was built in the late 1800s by Emperor Menelik II, who founded Addis Ababa. Recently the palace was refurbished by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy, along with the impressive new national treasure called Unity Park.

Media recorded and televised the National Science fair

Local and international media companies broadcasted this year’s Science Fair to the nation. 

"Inside every child is a scientist. Mark Gelfand

Nurture that scientist, you will change the world. Support our STEM programs in Africa and be part of Africa’s development endeavor.

For more GFCT-STEMpower news, visit our website. http:// www.stempower.org
Please subscribe to our You Tube TV channel: STEMpower Ethiopia
Each episode includes a face of Ethiopian culture along with a story about our STEM Centers, Projects, related industries, or agro-tech.

For more info: info@stempower.org

Read More

GFCT-STEMpower inaugurated Ethiopia’s 25th STEM Center at Debre Birhan University

GFCT-STEMpower officially inaugurated Ethiopia’s 25th STEM Center at Debre Birhan University on November 13, 2019, in the presence of Mr. Mark Gelfand, founder of GFCT-STEMpower along with Debre Birhan University academic staffs and community.

Mr. Mark Gelfand, Founder, Mrs. Kidist Gebreamlak, President, Debre Birhan University Staff, and Visitors from Cultivaid

Debre Birhan University is one of the Public Universities in Ethiopia, established in 2005 by the Ethiopian government at Debre Birhan city, located in the Semen Showa Zone of the Amhara Regional State, about 130 kilometers north-east of Addis Ababa. Currently, the university provides undergraduate and postgraduate studies for more than 30,000 students on a regular, extension, and summer programs. The STEM Center at the University will have a vital role in providing hands-on STEM education for students at the university and nearby schools.

Students, practicing their projects using GFCT-STEMpower's hands-on STEM Lab

As part of its vision for a technologically-developed, economically independent, and self-sustaining Ethiopia-Africa, GFCT-STEMpower is progressively stretching its practical STEM programs across Ethiopia and Sub-Sharan Africa, to reach pre-university students in urban cities and remote areas to nurture the scientist in every child. 

So far, GFCT-STEMpower has built a network of Schools and STEM Centers that provide STEM enrichment and enhancement programs for thousands of pre-university and pre-college students each year to thrive and prepare their future careers.

Inside every child is a scientist.

Nurture that scientist, you will change the world.  Support our STEM programs in Africa and be part of Africa’s development endeavor.

For more GFCT-STEMpower news, visit our website. www.stempower.org

Please subscribe to our You Tube TV channel: STEMpower Ethiopia, each episode includes a face of Ethiopian culture along with a story about our STEM Centers, Projects, related industries, or agro-tech.

For more info: info@stempower.org

Read More

GFCT-STEMpower inaugurated Ethiopia’s 24th STEM Center at Wollo University

GFCT-STEMpower officially inaugurated Ethiopia’s 24th STEM Center, this latest Center at Wollo University on November 12, 2019.  Wollo University is nestled high into the mountains of Amhara regional state.  The new STEM Center is equipped with electronics and virtual computer labs with more labs to be added in the coming years.  The Center will be run by STEMpower in partnership with the Wollo University, providing hands-on STEM education & innovation for students at the university and pre-college.

Mr. Mark Gelfand, Founder, Mrs. Kidist Gebreamlak, President, & Wollo University Staff

As it did for more than a decade, GFCT-STEMpower will continue to establish more STEM centers across Ethiopia to enrich pre-university students.  With its advanced labs and project-based learning environment, the organization foster students, innovators and job creators.

During the opening ceremony, Dr. Mengesha Ayene, Academic Affairs Vice President at Wollo University, noted that the university was established in 1997. In 2019, the University grew its capacity and enrolled over 28,000 students. He further highlighted that having a STEM center on the university grounds will greatly contribute to its vision and mission, specifically in pursuing practical engineering and science education provided by hands-on labs.

During the inauguration, Mr. Mark Gelfand, Founder of GFCT-STEMpower shared the history of GFCT-STEMpower and pointed out the impacts of hands-on STEM labs in inspiring engineers, innovators and tech-industrialists who would contribute to Ethiopia’s technology and economic development. GFCT-STEMpower has been the guiding vision behind all of the STEM Centers, the initial funder, the main procurer of lab equipment, and donor of specialized lab furniture. Thereafter the Ethiopian government sustains the Centers into perpetuity. 

In addition to opening STEM centers in Ethiopia and Sub-Saharan Africa, GFCT-STEMpower is venturing into Incubation Acceleration, where innovators will be trained in Entrepreneurship, Human-Centered Design-Thinking and other relevant themes, as well as get legal, technical, and financial support to produce viable prototypes to attract tech-investors, in partnership with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MiNT) and GFCT -STEMpower collaborators.  GFCT-STEMpower is creating a value chain of experiential STEM Education, Innovation, Industrialization and Job Creation.

GFCT-STEMpower envision a country where engineers innovate goods and services beyond meeting the local in-country demand for advanced 21st century tech-industrial output and export.

"Inside every child is a scientist." Mark Gelfand

Read More

Juba STEM Center Repaired and Operational

The Gelfand Family Trust has established the Juba STEM Center in November 2017. Unfortunately, the solar power system never worked reliably and couldn’t start accepting students in a timely manner.

Operating a STEM Center within the largest university in South Sudan is a multi-faceted challenge. Challenges include no utility electric power, few suitable buildings, currency inflation, equipment shortage, and remoteness.

In September 2019, STEMpower had partially solved those challenges, by constructing spacious buildings that include six STEM labs, an auditorium, and a vocational training center, as well as sending a container of technical lab equipment. Meanwhile, STEMpower and friends of GFCT team tackled the electrical power situation, and also erected an automobile repair garage roof.

Three months ago, the STEMpower team took charge and engineered a simpler, more understandable, and more redundant solar power electronics design. We engaged SunGate Solar (https://sungatesolarsolutions.com), a local South Sudanese company specializing in solar power systems, to professionally implement the new design.

Finally, we were able to experience a moment of joy as the STEM Center’s 400 solar panels of electric power finally operated properly, and the ceiling lights and power outlets came on!

Juba University is now being transformed into a technically proficient University. Students are now enjoying their lab-oriented class at the STEM Center. Other NGOs operating in Juba are also using the facility for various educational purposes.

Special thanks to Juba University Vice Chancellor John Akec, who resolved various situations at the University, and to Andrew Anda, director of the Juba University STEM & Vocational Center.

Currently, STEMpower and Juba teams are overseeing a replacement of the automobile repair garage (destroyed during high winds), as well as overheating in the solar battery containers.

There are more South Sudanese engineering-oriented universities in need of STEM Centers. STEMpower looks for partners who share the vision towards a technologically-developed, economically-independent, and self-sustaining Africa. Together, we will implement to repair the country.

STEM for everyone in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan!

To learn more about our work, please visit STEMpower.org
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel: STEMpower Ethiopia

_____________
Technical Notes:

Note #1) STEMpower and SunGater re-arranged the Juba University STEM Center’s solar power circuitry into six independent strings of solar PV panels. Each PV string now drives a battery charger-controller and three inverters. Each inverter is capable of independently generating 8 kilowatts of AC power. Thus, each of the 18 independent redundant power generators can be switched in and out, as needed. We rejected the modern-but-complicating solar power concept of “AC coupling”, because there is no AC utility power in South Sudan to couple to!

Note #2) Our flexible distributive electrical engineering design let us pursue innovations. As an example, we envision transforming excess solar power into industrial 3-phase power, for welding and heavy machinery in the automobile repair garage. Because the 150 kilowatts of modifiable solar power circuitry can now be further re-configured, our solar power generator itself serves as an object of STEM study.

Note #3) STEMpower’s many solar power experiences have confirmed the biggest problem of remote African solar power generation: the storage batteries. STEMpower’s ongoing relationship with the Chemical Engineering department of Case CWRU University (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) has the fortuitous side benefit of looking into practical battery alternatives. Moreover, our STEM curriculum now includes hands-on student participation into that exploration.

Read More

STEMpower Inaugurated a New STEM Center in the Capital City of Ethiopia

STEMpower officially inaugurated a new STEM Center at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology ("AAIT"), on July 12, 2019. AAIT is located in Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa, a major hub of Africa.More than a decade ago, STEMpower founders established the first STEM Center called Foka Science and Engineering Center, in Bishoftu city, an hour drive from the capital. From humble beginnings, the STEMpower team has been steadily operating diverse STEM programs across Ethiopia and nearby countries. AAIT STEM Center joins the growing array of STEM Centers funded and equipped by STEMpower founders and its charity trust GFCT.

Addis Ababa Institute of Technology ("AAIT") was Ethiopia's first engineering institution, established in 1953 as the Imperial College of Engineering. Now an independent member of Addis Ababa University ("AAU"), AAIT operates five undergraduate schools of engineering:

  • Civil and environmental engineering
  • Electrical and computer engineering
  • Mechanical and industrial engineering
  • Chemical and bio-engineering, and
  • Pre-engineering

In addition, AAIT is training lecturers and researchers at Masters and Phd levels.

AAIT STEM Center was officially inaugurated by many dignitaries, who spoke to the first cohort of students attending the new STEM Center. Dignitaries included:

  • Dr. Solomon Benor, research affairs director, Ethiopian Ministry of
  • Science and Higher Education (MoSHE)
  • Dr. Matiwos Ensermu, vice president, AAU.
  • Dr. Esayas Gebreyohannes, scientific director, AAIT.
  • Dr. Birhanemeskel, president, Kotebe Metropolitan University
  • Dr. Esayas Gebreyohannes, scientific director, AAIT
  • Dr. Solomon, senior official, MoSHE.
  • Dr. Birhanemeskel, senior official, Kotebe

The official opening ceremonies were followed by a visit to the AAIT STEM Center's first operational program, called University STEM Outreach. That national program began five years ago by STEMpower founders. The outreach program operates at nearly all Ethiopian 45 universities as an educational enrichment service to their respective catchment communities.

AAIT STEM's University STEM Outreach program is hosting 80 interested students from nearby neighborhood schools. Those students are now preparing their innovative projects for Ethiopia's fourth annual National Science Fair, held every November 10. At the Science Fair, the AAIT STEM students will compete with other STEM-interested students from around the nation.

In addition, STEMPower has been serving as coordinator with AAIT STEM Center to establish an innovative Chemical and Biochemical Engineering lab, in partnership with Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel "STEMpower Ethiopia" to view more of our activities and innovations.

Read More

STEMpower News

Ethiopian STEM Students Celebrate ETRSS-1 in Orbit

On December 20, 2019, Ehiopia’s first earth observatory satellite “ETRSS-1” launched into space.  The 70-kilogram (155 lbs weight) Remote Sensing Satellite was carried into orbit aboard a Long March 4B rocket, blasting off from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Xinzhou, North China province.

Before the launching of ETRSS-1 satellite, there had been few scientific resources devoted to observe Ethiopia’s agricultural, climate, mining, and natural resources. The successful deployment of the ETRSS-1 orbiter is bringing to the nation a consistent real-time access to a wide range of environmental observation.

https://youtu.be/eFBuvqD2T9A?t=15
ETRSS-1 Live launching on ETV

That data is already being downloaded to the spacecraft’s command & control center, known as the Entoto Observatory and Space Science Research Center (“EORC”), and sited atop Mount Entoto, at the western edge of Ethopia’s capital city Addis Ababa.

Entoto Ground Station Control Center

Data downloaded includes weather conditions, surface water patterns, crop distribution, land use, and other environmental data – all of which is already being studied by Ethiopian scientists.

For 14 years, the STEMpower team has been bringing hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math study) to many thousands of pre-university students across Ethiopia.  Our mission is to imbue students with permanent practical actionable engineering skills, so that those students will be empowered to build their nation, into the future.

Kotebe Metropolitan University, Menelik I Science Shared Campus Students

The STEMpower team has initiated, financed, constructed, and lab-enabled 25 STEM Centers, hosted by public universities and national research institutes in Ethiopia, plus more in other nearby nations.  Our team also supports the annual Ethiopian National Science Fair competition, more than 75 virtual computer labs, a popular national STEM TV television show, and many more types of programs that together constitute a national movement.

We also act on opportunities that become available.  Earlier this year, the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s office realized that our STEM students could become an important part of the nation’s budding space program.  By exposing our pre-university STEM students to the nation’s space program, some of these students would naturally orient their careers towards a solid foundation in space science & engineering.  The jobs filled by competent and experienced Ethiopians represents yet another way Ethiopia becomes an independent and productive nation.

Therefore, STEMpower responded to the Prime Minister Office invitation, by bringing 500 talented STEM students to visit the facilities of the EORC and its parent organization, the Ethiopian Space, Science, and Technology Institute. (”ESSTI”).

Selected Students from different STEM Centers, visiting EORC

The visiting students have been learning at the STEM Centers at public universities in the diverse cities of Hawassa, Bahir Dar, Kalamino/Mekele, as well as the STEM Centers of Addis Ababa area universities at Kotebe Metropolitan and Addis Ababa Science Technology, and also the STEM Center of the Menelik I Science Shared Campus high-school.

During their visit, the STEM students learned many technical concepts regarding their nation’s space program, as well as new ways to utilize their STEM Center lab equipment, and foster their understanding of innovation, technology, and astronomy, as they spread Ethiopian culture to the world.

The EORC and ESSTI professional staff reported afterwards that they were amazed by the pertinent and detailed questions asked by the STEM students, who already were highly engaged in engineering and robotics.

Biruktawit Mersha, from KMUMSSC

Biruktawite Mersha a grade 12 student from Kotebe Metropolitan University Menelik I Science Shared Campus said, “I have learned that the Ethiopian astronomical field is in progress to discover more things. My visit and the staff I met here motivates me to follow my passion to work for my country’s development.”

EAS STEM Center students, Yonatan, to the left, Ananya, right

Yonatan Assebe a grade 12 student from the Ethiopian Academy of Science STEM Center, said, “I have seen the telescopes and equipment and their function. I found them motivational.  It is good to see our country has achieved technological advancement.” 

Ananya Fikremariam a grade 12 student from the Ethiopian Academy of Science STEM Center, for his part said, “Since I was a kid, I was interested in astronomy. But, this country has done little in the sector. As a result, I was unable to get any access to visit this site. So, launching a satellite and visiting Satellite receiver ground station is interesting and fascinating for me.”

STEMpower Students across STEM Centers

STEMpower is privileged to have had its STEM Center students take part in this historic event. We continue to provide access to hands-on STEM education throughout Ethiopia to foster the space generation in Ethiopia and Africa.

"Inside every child is a scientist." Mark Gelfand

Read More

The National Science and Engineering Fair Competition

GFCT-STEMpower co-organized the fourth Annual Ethiopian Science and Engineering Fair competition, held November 6-10, 2019, at the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, located in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The event (synchronized with World Science Day) brought together 254 diverse and talented Ethiopian students, representing all regional states.  Those students learn their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills at the nation’s ever-increasing number of STEM Centers, as well as at interested public and private schools.

11 Winners of the STEM Teacher’s Competition drawn from all of Ethiopia’s regions

The Science Fair student participants utilize the many advanced skills they learned at their local STEM Centers and schools. The students create actual working solutions to real problems. A total of 187 projects (some of them large) were transported to Addis Ababa, along with the 254 student participants.

The logistics is a remarkable achievement, considering how far some of the students reside from the national capital. The Science Fair is a wonderful way for diverse students to share experiences with fellow students who come from different cultures and traditions. 

The national event’s student participants were the winners of their earlier local hometown Science Fairs.  Approximately 2500 students nationwide this year participated in those local Science Fairs.

Students unveiled their projects

Ethiopian Science Fair students demonstrate problem-solving projects, such as Wheel Chair Design, Smart Blind Stick, Radar-Controlling System, Multipurpose Security System, Motorized Tricycles and many more working engineering and robotics models.

Volunteer judges from the international Addis Ababa community carefully evaluate those projects, using a rubric scoring method.

Grade 12 female student Afrah Hussine (a student at the EAS STEM center) won first-prize for her Stair climbing Wheel Chair. Similarly, Meron Mulatu and Natoli Hunduma (students from Kotebe Metropolitan University Menelik II Science Shared Campus) won a first-prize, and students from AAIT STEM Center won an award for their Smart Blind Stick innovation.

During his opening speech at the award ceremony, Dr. Tilaye Getie,Ethiopia’s Minister of Education, said, “Our National Science Fair creates a platform for students and teachers to share experience from each other and nurture their creativity and innovation skills.” He stressed that the engagement in STEM enrichment programs is vital for students to enhance their skills with hands-on STEM labs, as well as to promote the culture of innovation in Ethiopia.

Unity Park: Top View

GFCT-STEMpower also provided tickets and transportation for all 254 student participants to visit the Grand Palace in Addis Ababa.  That historical building was built in the late 1800s by Emperor Menelik II, who founded Addis Ababa. Recently the palace was refurbished by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy, along with the impressive new national treasure called Unity Park.

Media recorded and televised the National Science fair

Local and international media companies broadcasted this year’s Science Fair to the nation. 

"Inside every child is a scientist. Mark Gelfand

Nurture that scientist, you will change the world. Support our STEM programs in Africa and be part of Africa’s development endeavor.

For more GFCT-STEMpower news, visit our website. http:// www.stempower.org
Please subscribe to our You Tube TV channel: STEMpower Ethiopia
Each episode includes a face of Ethiopian culture along with a story about our STEM Centers, Projects, related industries, or agro-tech.

For more info: info@stempower.org

Read More

GFCT-STEMpower inaugurated Ethiopia’s 25th STEM Center at Debre Birhan University

GFCT-STEMpower officially inaugurated Ethiopia’s 25th STEM Center at Debre Birhan University on November 13, 2019, in the presence of Mr. Mark Gelfand, founder of GFCT-STEMpower along with Debre Birhan University academic staffs and community.

Mr. Mark Gelfand, Founder, Mrs. Kidist Gebreamlak, President, Debre Birhan University Staff, and Visitors from Cultivaid

Debre Birhan University is one of the Public Universities in Ethiopia, established in 2005 by the Ethiopian government at Debre Birhan city, located in the Semen Showa Zone of the Amhara Regional State, about 130 kilometers north-east of Addis Ababa. Currently, the university provides undergraduate and postgraduate studies for more than 30,000 students on a regular, extension, and summer programs. The STEM Center at the University will have a vital role in providing hands-on STEM education for students at the university and nearby schools.

Students, practicing their projects using GFCT-STEMpower's hands-on STEM Lab

As part of its vision for a technologically-developed, economically independent, and self-sustaining Ethiopia-Africa, GFCT-STEMpower is progressively stretching its practical STEM programs across Ethiopia and Sub-Sharan Africa, to reach pre-university students in urban cities and remote areas to nurture the scientist in every child. 

So far, GFCT-STEMpower has built a network of Schools and STEM Centers that provide STEM enrichment and enhancement programs for thousands of pre-university and pre-college students each year to thrive and prepare their future careers.

Inside every child is a scientist.

Nurture that scientist, you will change the world.  Support our STEM programs in Africa and be part of Africa’s development endeavor.

For more GFCT-STEMpower news, visit our website. www.stempower.org

Please subscribe to our You Tube TV channel: STEMpower Ethiopia, each episode includes a face of Ethiopian culture along with a story about our STEM Centers, Projects, related industries, or agro-tech.

For more info: info@stempower.org

Read More

GFCT-STEMpower inaugurated Ethiopia’s 24th STEM Center at Wollo University

GFCT-STEMpower officially inaugurated Ethiopia’s 24th STEM Center, this latest Center at Wollo University on November 12, 2019.  Wollo University is nestled high into the mountains of Amhara regional state.  The new STEM Center is equipped with electronics and virtual computer labs with more labs to be added in the coming years.  The Center will be run by STEMpower in partnership with the Wollo University, providing hands-on STEM education & innovation for students at the university and pre-college.

Mr. Mark Gelfand, Founder, Mrs. Kidist Gebreamlak, President, & Wollo University Staff

As it did for more than a decade, GFCT-STEMpower will continue to establish more STEM centers across Ethiopia to enrich pre-university students.  With its advanced labs and project-based learning environment, the organization foster students, innovators and job creators.

During the opening ceremony, Dr. Mengesha Ayene, Academic Affairs Vice President at Wollo University, noted that the university was established in 1997. In 2019, the University grew its capacity and enrolled over 28,000 students. He further highlighted that having a STEM center on the university grounds will greatly contribute to its vision and mission, specifically in pursuing practical engineering and science education provided by hands-on labs.

During the inauguration, Mr. Mark Gelfand, Founder of GFCT-STEMpower shared the history of GFCT-STEMpower and pointed out the impacts of hands-on STEM labs in inspiring engineers, innovators and tech-industrialists who would contribute to Ethiopia’s technology and economic development. GFCT-STEMpower has been the guiding vision behind all of the STEM Centers, the initial funder, the main procurer of lab equipment, and donor of specialized lab furniture. Thereafter the Ethiopian government sustains the Centers into perpetuity. 

In addition to opening STEM centers in Ethiopia and Sub-Saharan Africa, GFCT-STEMpower is venturing into Incubation Acceleration, where innovators will be trained in Entrepreneurship, Human-Centered Design-Thinking and other relevant themes, as well as get legal, technical, and financial support to produce viable prototypes to attract tech-investors, in partnership with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MiNT) and GFCT -STEMpower collaborators.  GFCT-STEMpower is creating a value chain of experiential STEM Education, Innovation, Industrialization and Job Creation.

GFCT-STEMpower envision a country where engineers innovate goods and services beyond meeting the local in-country demand for advanced 21st century tech-industrial output and export.

"Inside every child is a scientist." Mark Gelfand

Read More

Juba STEM Center Repaired and Operational

The Gelfand Family Trust has established the Juba STEM Center in November 2017. Unfortunately, the solar power system never worked reliably and couldn’t start accepting students in a timely manner.

Operating a STEM Center within the largest university in South Sudan is a multi-faceted challenge. Challenges include no utility electric power, few suitable buildings, currency inflation, equipment shortage, and remoteness.

In September 2019, STEMpower had partially solved those challenges, by constructing spacious buildings that include six STEM labs, an auditorium, and a vocational training center, as well as sending a container of technical lab equipment. Meanwhile, STEMpower and friends of GFCT team tackled the electrical power situation, and also erected an automobile repair garage roof.

Three months ago, the STEMpower team took charge and engineered a simpler, more understandable, and more redundant solar power electronics design. We engaged SunGate Solar (https://sungatesolarsolutions.com), a local South Sudanese company specializing in solar power systems, to professionally implement the new design.

Finally, we were able to experience a moment of joy as the STEM Center’s 400 solar panels of electric power finally operated properly, and the ceiling lights and power outlets came on!

Juba University is now being transformed into a technically proficient University. Students are now enjoying their lab-oriented class at the STEM Center. Other NGOs operating in Juba are also using the facility for various educational purposes.

Special thanks to Juba University Vice Chancellor John Akec, who resolved various situations at the University, and to Andrew Anda, director of the Juba University STEM & Vocational Center.

Currently, STEMpower and Juba teams are overseeing a replacement of the automobile repair garage (destroyed during high winds), as well as overheating in the solar battery containers.

There are more South Sudanese engineering-oriented universities in need of STEM Centers. STEMpower looks for partners who share the vision towards a technologically-developed, economically-independent, and self-sustaining Africa. Together, we will implement to repair the country.

STEM for everyone in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan!

To learn more about our work, please visit STEMpower.org
Please subscribe to our YouTube channel: STEMpower Ethiopia

_____________
Technical Notes:

Note #1) STEMpower and SunGater re-arranged the Juba University STEM Center’s solar power circuitry into six independent strings of solar PV panels. Each PV string now drives a battery charger-controller and three inverters. Each inverter is capable of independently generating 8 kilowatts of AC power. Thus, each of the 18 independent redundant power generators can be switched in and out, as needed. We rejected the modern-but-complicating solar power concept of “AC coupling”, because there is no AC utility power in South Sudan to couple to!

Note #2) Our flexible distributive electrical engineering design let us pursue innovations. As an example, we envision transforming excess solar power into industrial 3-phase power, for welding and heavy machinery in the automobile repair garage. Because the 150 kilowatts of modifiable solar power circuitry can now be further re-configured, our solar power generator itself serves as an object of STEM study.

Note #3) STEMpower’s many solar power experiences have confirmed the biggest problem of remote African solar power generation: the storage batteries. STEMpower’s ongoing relationship with the Chemical Engineering department of Case CWRU University (Cleveland, Ohio, USA) has the fortuitous side benefit of looking into practical battery alternatives. Moreover, our STEM curriculum now includes hands-on student participation into that exploration.

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STEMpower Inaugurated a New STEM Center in the Capital City of Ethiopia

STEMpower officially inaugurated a new STEM Center at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology ("AAIT"), on July 12, 2019. AAIT is located in Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa, a major hub of Africa.More than a decade ago, STEMpower founders established the first STEM Center called Foka Science and Engineering Center, in Bishoftu city, an hour drive from the capital. From humble beginnings, the STEMpower team has been steadily operating diverse STEM programs across Ethiopia and nearby countries. AAIT STEM Center joins the growing array of STEM Centers funded and equipped by STEMpower founders and its charity trust GFCT.

Addis Ababa Institute of Technology ("AAIT") was Ethiopia's first engineering institution, established in 1953 as the Imperial College of Engineering. Now an independent member of Addis Ababa University ("AAU"), AAIT operates five undergraduate schools of engineering:

  • Civil and environmental engineering
  • Electrical and computer engineering
  • Mechanical and industrial engineering
  • Chemical and bio-engineering, and
  • Pre-engineering

In addition, AAIT is training lecturers and researchers at Masters and Phd levels.

AAIT STEM Center was officially inaugurated by many dignitaries, who spoke to the first cohort of students attending the new STEM Center. Dignitaries included:

  • Dr. Solomon Benor, research affairs director, Ethiopian Ministry of
  • Science and Higher Education (MoSHE)
  • Dr. Matiwos Ensermu, vice president, AAU.
  • Dr. Esayas Gebreyohannes, scientific director, AAIT.
  • Dr. Birhanemeskel, president, Kotebe Metropolitan University
  • Dr. Esayas Gebreyohannes, scientific director, AAIT
  • Dr. Solomon, senior official, MoSHE.
  • Dr. Birhanemeskel, senior official, Kotebe

The official opening ceremonies were followed by a visit to the AAIT STEM Center's first operational program, called University STEM Outreach. That national program began five years ago by STEMpower founders. The outreach program operates at nearly all Ethiopian 45 universities as an educational enrichment service to their respective catchment communities.

AAIT STEM's University STEM Outreach program is hosting 80 interested students from nearby neighborhood schools. Those students are now preparing their innovative projects for Ethiopia's fourth annual National Science Fair, held every November 10. At the Science Fair, the AAIT STEM students will compete with other STEM-interested students from around the nation.

In addition, STEMPower has been serving as coordinator with AAIT STEM Center to establish an innovative Chemical and Biochemical Engineering lab, in partnership with Case Western Reserve University of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel "STEMpower Ethiopia" to view more of our activities and innovations.

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