Sibo the Engineer is a program that aims to raise interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields among children by creating inclusive and diverse STEM content for young children aged 8–12 years. This includes a series of STEM children’s books, real-world activities such as site visits and virtual reality tours of engineering sites, and an animation based on Sibo the Civil Engineer book.
The launch event was implemented under the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO) funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering African Catalyst Phase 4 grant. In collaboration with the Bulawayo City Council and in partnership with Zimbabwe Institution of Engineering, Engineering Council of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Sibo the Engineer was organized to educate primary school students about the water treatment process through engaging and interactive activities at Criterion Water Works. The event aimed to inspire students to develop an interest in STEM subjects and potentially pursue STEM careers in the future.
A total of 120 children from six local primary schools participated in the event. The schools included Vulindela, Mahlathini, Malindela, Mawaba, Mqiqika, and Queen Elizabeth Primary Schools (Bulawayo).
Over the course of three days, 20 students from each school went on field trips to the Criterion Water Works in Burnside, Bulawayo. This visit provided them with a firsthand experience of how the city’s water supply is treated and made safe for consumption. The students were able to witness the various stages of water treatment, gaining a deeper appreciation for the amount of work required to produce clean drinking water.
After the site visits the children went on to Bulawayo City Hall and included a range of educational activities and quizzes. These activities were designed to reinforce what the students had learned about water treatment and sustainability during their field trips. The quizzes were particularly engaging, as they encouraged active participation and helped solidify the knowledge gained. Additionally, each participating school received a donation of Sibo the Engineer books to further promote STEM education as well water filtration toys for practical implementation at the schools.
The students displayed great enthusiasm and actively engaged in all the activities throughout the event. Their eagerness to learn and participate demonstrated that education can be enjoyable and impactful. Many students expressed their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, indicating that the event successfully sparked their curiosity and potentially influenced their career aspirations.
The Sibo the Engineer Launch event proved to be an impactful opportunity to educate primary school students in Bulawayo about water treatment and spark their interest in STEM. The students gained a better understanding and appreciation of the importance of clean water, as well as engineering and scientific concepts. By exposing them to real-world applications of STEM, the event aimed to shape the future of STEM education and careers in Bulawayo.
The Sibo the Engineer Launch event at Criterion Water Works was a successful initiative that effectively educated primary school students about water treatment while igniting their interest in STEM subjects. The event provided valuable hands-on experiences and interactive learning opportunities. It is evident that events like this can have a meaningful influence on students and contribute to the future development of STEM in Bulawayo.