Local chemical company invests in future scientists from Madadeni.

In the context of its global education initiative, Karbochem based specialty chemicals company, LANXESS, has partnered with the Goethe-Institut South Africa’s “I am Science” Project to inspire curiosity about science, giving grade 9 girl-learners hands-on experience of chemistry and physics in a fun and less intimidating way, while exposing them to science-related career options.

The “I am Science” Project was launched in 2015 by the Goethe-Institut South Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is based on an understanding that, apart from women having the right to do any job they want to, it also makes economic sense that they should participate equally in finding the solutions that science can offer for the world’s problems.


The project facilitators spent four days with girl-leaners from Dedangifunde High School, Madadeni, facilitating exciting science activities combined with video, and digital learning with the dual aim of increasing curiosity in science and changing perceptions around girls in science.


The project offers the girls a chance to do hands-on science activities; be professionally filmed doing these, and demonstrate the experiments to  their peers. The filmed content will be converted to video clips to be uploaded on the project mobisite and social media platforms in a form of video quizzes. Users can freely access content and get rewarded with airtime and data for correctly answering the quizzes on the learning app.


“As one of the leading global specialty chemicals companies, LANXESS  is always on the lookout for partnerships and initiatives that address the South Africa’s concern about the state of science and chemistry education and the dire consequences for the development of the country and the communities we operate in”, said LANXESS CISA (Pty) Ltd. Managing Director, Mr Gerhardus Strydom.


Corporate Responsibility is an integral part of LANXESS’s strategy. Through it, the company aims to bring in line economic, ecological and social considerations, while implementing targeted initiatives, including those directly and indirectly contributing to education. It is for this reason that LANXESS saw the need to partner with the Goethe-Institut in order to improve and sustain the quality of life of the country’s young girls with keen interest in pursuing studies and careers in the science field.


According to Victoria John, Coordinator of the "I Am Science" project, the project is mainly about giving the girl-learners hands-on experience that, unfortunately, many of them have never had before because of poorly-resourced schools and being excluded from conversations about science because of their gender. As a result, some girls naturally believe that science is not for them – that it is hard and irrelevant to their lives. The project also gives the learners space to touch, hear and see the scientific concepts they’ve only heard about from words on a chalkboard. They get an opportunity to watch themselves in high-quality videos of their science activities.


"The girl-learners will learn the language that makes the technologies they use, work. They will be able to say, “I am Science”, because Science is all around us. It is for everyone, no matter who you are, or where you come from. Not only is the project about Science, but also about creating something tangible and of high-quality that the learners can be proud of. The beautiful videos made of learners doing Science activities are powerful pieces of digital educational content – versatile, shareable and they take a solid step toward normalising the image of a black girl doing science", concluded Victoria.


Mr Njoko, School Principal at Dedangifunde High School, proudly witnessing his learners embracing the opportunity to be part of this project said,  “We are truly grateful to have been given the opportunity to hold this programme at our school. It is pleasing to companies like LANXESS taking education and the development of young children, especially girl children in the field of science, very seriously. On behalf of the school, I would like to thank LANXESS for bringing hope and unlocking the future of our learning,”

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 9.7 billion in 2017 and about 19,200 employees in 25 countries. The company is currently represented at 74 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. LANXESS is listed in the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and Europe) and FTSE4Good.

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