Aircraft manufacturer Airbus, through its Airbus Foundation, has launched its Little Engineer programme in Kenya with 30 students simulating a launch mission into space.
The programme, which is a partnership with Little Engineer and The Travelling Telescope as well as the M-Pesa Foundation Academy, is introducing students to space exploration and enhancing understanding of the benefits and applications of space technology.
“We want to support and work with Kenyan youth whose innovative and high-tech spirit is getting stronger with many small and medium-sized companies, social entrepreneurs and local non-profit organisations,” said Andrea Debbane, executive director of the Airbus Foundation.
According to the UN, in Kenya small and medium-sized enterprises play a key role in the economic development, contributing 33.8 per cent of GDP and 81.1 per cent of employment opportunities.
Most of these enterprises are run by young people aged between 18 and 35.
“We are very excited to be partnering with The Airbus Foundation and The Travelling Telescope. The Airbus Little Engineer initiative fits well into how we approach education at the M-Pesa Foundation Academy where we focus on leadership, technology, entrepreneurship training and co-curricular activities alongside academic learning,” said Les Baillie, CEO of the M-Pesa Foundation.
Over the course of four hours, students assembled and launched a rocket, set up a base and established communications.
The goal of the initiative is to encourage students between the age of 10 and 16 to understand and embrace technology, and ignite passion that could grow into an exciting career in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The Airbus Foundation launched the ALE programme in 2012 and has to date trained over 3,000 students on robotics and aerospace.