Raissa Malu

SST8, behind the scene

Affiche Officielle de la 8e édition de la Semaine de la Science et des Technologies (SST8)

While waiting for the official report, discover the adventures of the 8th edition of the Science and Technology Week.

Since 2014, my team and I have been meeting in Kinshasa to organize the Science and Technology Week. This year, 2021, was the 8th edition.

You would think that it would be easier today. Well, not at all!

An uphill battle

It is always an uphill battle. If we were not passionate, if we didn't believe in the need to invest in youth and teachers, we would have given up long ago.

I would like to start this article by thanking from the bottom of my heart those who support us. Without these sponsors and partners, there would be no event.

Sponsors et partenaires

Small groups and barrier gestures

This 8th edition, in a health crisis situation, was epic! The idea was to organize the activities in small groups in order to respect the barrier gestures and to allow as many people as possible to follow live via our Facebook page and with Zoom.

On paper, everything was fine. The implementation was more difficult. Let me tell you about this event as I experienced it.

A tour of the sites

We had structured the program in two parts: training of 150 teachers from April 5 to 10, part 1; official launch and classic Science and Technology Week activities from April 10 to 17, part 2. For the training of teachers, we had chosen to organize it in 3 provinces, Central Kongo (Kisantu), Haut-Katanga (Lubumbashi) and North-Kivu (Goma).

I had thought (naively) that I would do a tour of the sites in one week to meet our partners and encourage the teachers. So, yes, we respected the program and all the activities took place as planned. But, doing the tour turned out to be an adventure within an adventure.

Visit in Lubumbashi

First, while I had booked the plane tickets and hotels a month in advance, we had to change airlines and itinerary at the last minute (I'll skip the details). On the scheduled day, we left Kinshasa for Lubumbashi where we had a wonderful time at the Malaïka school and their community center.

We took the opportunity to visit Samy Mwamba's ITOT Africa startup, two schools renovated and equipped by PEQPESU to improve the quality of science and mathematics education (Mulumba Lukoji Institute in Kipushi and Neema Institute), as well as the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique (ISP) in Lubumbashi.

Propeller plane

These visits and meetings had made us euphoric and it is in this state that we headed to the airport of Lubumbashi to take the plane to Goma. On the way, we thought that the flight would be a direct one in an aircraft like the one we had taken to come to Lubumbashi, maybe better.

But no! It was a propeller plane where we were only allowed 5 kg of hand luggage, whereas we had come from Kinshasa with a 10 kg hand luggage! The plane did not have enough room in the hold and it stopped in Kalemie, Bukavu and finally, Goma (cold shower!).

In Goma without luggage

When we arrived in Goma a few hours late, we discovered with horror that the luggage had been deliberately left in Lubumbashi by the company. To top it all off, we had barely arrived at the hotel when we received a message announcing a two-day "ville morte" in (legitimate) protest against the massacres in Beni.

For a first trip to Goma, that was a lot. It is at times like this that one practices anti-panic breathing exercises (laughs).

Extraordinary people

That said, I don't regret a single second of my stay in Goma. I saw some amazing landscapes.

I met some amazing people. I visited beautiful schools with educational projects and dedicated staff (Kivu International School, the Cinquantenaire School and the "Un Jour Nouveau" school center).

Presidential address

We returned to Kinshasa (after a stopover in Kisangani) the day before the official launch. The rest of the program went on as planned with unforgettable moments.

First, we had the official message from the President of the Republic and current President of the African Union, His Excellency Mr. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo. What an honor! We are very grateful to him.

Village of sciences

Then, the mini Science Village of the 8th edition of the Science and Technology Week was set up at the Lycée Liziba of Kinshasa. I have to tell you this story.

Lycée Liziba is a girls' school located in the Mbudi district of Kinshasa.This school was created in 2009 by an association of parents, the Association Africaine pour l'Education et l'Instruction, AFEDI for short.

Raïssa Malu Laboratory

Their students have been participating as science animators in the Science and Technology Week for several years now. I appreciate the educational project, the management and teaching team of this school and their students are great.

On November 7, 2020, they invited me to attend the inauguration of their new laboratory built with the help of their partners and private donors. The President of AFEDI did me the HUGE honor of proposing that this new laboratory bear my name, "Raïssa Malu", because, I quote, "not only has she been promoting the Science and Technology Week for several years, a must for our students. But also, she is a true inspiration for the young girls of the Liziba High School and a model of work and taste for science."

Surprise and emotion

Just writing that gives me goosebumps! At the time, when the President of AFEDI started talking about naming the laboratory, I thought "Marie Curie" or "Félix Malu Wa Kalenga". I would never have thought that it could be named after me.

Imagine my surprise and my emotion! I would like to thank AFEDI, the management and the students of Lycée Liziba once again for this recognition. The laboratory of the Liziba High School bears my name, but it is dedicated to the team of the Science and Technology Week and to all the generations of students-animators. I only represent this great family.

labo Liziba

Sciences in the city

On Tuesday, April 13, we went to the Boboto cultural center for a workshop with students on cybersecurity and screenings of two episodes of the Cameroonian series "Sciences in the city" and the film "Robe de pixels" on women in STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) in the DRC.

You must see the excitement that these screenings have aroused in the students. Many of them asked questions.

Cameroonian star

Here too, there is a story within a story. The series "Sciences in the city" is produced by the Cameroonian physicist Stéphane Kenmoe. He came to Kinshasa especially for the occasion with one of the actors and not just any actor, Hervé Nguetchouang!

You do not know him? Well, show your daughter or a friend the picture below. (I am not going to be clever; I didn't know him either).

PSX 20210412 221717

A flood of fans

It was crazy! As soon as Hervé took off his mask, the girls and some teachers came to ask him for autographs and take pictures.

Already when he arrived at the airport, he was taken by storm by the fans. Dora, Stéphane, and I were there to observe with amazement this craze.

Popularizing with the movies

The actor was more successful than us 😊. Herve behaved professionally and respectfully.

If you ask me, popularizing in DRC and Africa science and technology with local cinema is a good niche. This will create vocations in the arts and STEM (STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). Thanks to Stephane Kenmoe for leading the way.

Presidential Panel

The activities continued with the day dedicated to the Presidential Panel in charge of accompanying the mandate of the DRC at the head of the African Union. I urge you to visit our Facebook page to see the video of this memorable day of April 14 at the Pullman Hotel.

On Thursday April 15, we had the second day of conferences and the 8th edition of the Science and Technology Week ended on Saturday April 17 with the end of the workshop on embedded systems, organized in Goma with the startup Bora Technology. Here, too, I must stop and tell you about this experience.

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony was organized on Zoom. Five groups of students from different schools in Goma presented their projects.

We were all amazed by the projects developed and by the ease of these students. Embedded systems are seen at the university.

Trusting young people

They are not part of the school curriculum for two main reasons. We do not have teachers trained to teach them and we still have this misconception that students are not mature enough to be involved in interesting and innovative projects.

However, Science and Technology Week demonstrates the opposite every year. If there was only one lesson to be learned from our experience, it would be this: it is when we trust our students and young people, when we kindly give them the opportunity to express their talents, that they are able to give their best and become a force for change.

Head cook

There have been so many stories within the story, adventures within the adventure. I would like to tell you all of them, but it would be too long for one article. I would like to end with a beautiful encounter, that of Prince Lubanzamo, a home chef (with me on the photo at the Malaika School community center).

Dora and I met him at the home of my friend, Noella Coursaris Musunka, during our stay in Lubumbashi. He was organizing cooking workshops with the mothers and students of the Malaïka school.

Gastronomy workshop

At Noella's house, we always ate well. Her family (which has become our family too 😊) is very welcoming. With Prince, we were also treated to delicious desserts.

Yum! If I had met him before, he would have been the one to whom I would have entrusted the gastronomy workshop initially planned in the program.


But it is Prince's second passion that saved the Science and Technology Week, photography (you can't make this up). Very kindly, Prince made himself available to take pictures of the visit of the Malaïka community center and of the activities from April 12 to 14 in Kinshasa.

Without him, we would not have any photos to share with you. Thank you, Prince! For a future edition, we hope to introduce you to his first talent, cooking.

Centre Communautaire Malaika 11

Video summary

Waiting for the official report where you will never find the stories told here 😉, relive in pictures and video the 8th edition of Science and Technology Week on our website, on our Facebook page and onour YouTube channel.

Science is fun, join us ! 😉

This post has first been published on LinkedIn.


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