Mia Delport, a grade 8 learner at Oranje Girls High School in the Free State and Eskom Expo for Young Scientists silver medal winner, has won the opportunity to present a ‘good hygiene’ project at the International Festival of Engineering Science and Technology (I-FEST2) in Tunisia.
The event takes place from 5 to 7 November, and will be broadcast virtually for international participants due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
Mia will present her project, ‘Door mechanism to ensure good hygiene through sanitising in bathrooms’ at I-FEST2.
Her self-sanitising door mechanism is an enhancement of the popular foot-operated hand sanitiser. She designed a low-cost dispensing mechanism that activates a hand sanitiser while connected to a door lock so that the door can only be opened after a person’s hands have been sanitised. This will ensure that 100% of people sanitise their hands after using a public toilet, for example.
“Two prototypes were built with adjustments to reach the engineering goal of a fool-proof system, to ensure that people don’t get stuck in the bathroom,” said Mia.
Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, is pleased about the empowerment of the female participants in STEMI through the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, particularly Mia. Eskom fully supports and is committed to gender equality and empowerment of women.
“This is an indication that South African youth – women in particular – are claiming their place in STEMI. It bodes well for the future of the country,” said Nthato.
Eskom General Manager of the International Trader in the Transmission Division, Andrew Etzinger, wished Delport well in the competition, and said the invention is creative and a fantastic response to a current need. “We at Eskom are encouraged by the fact that Mia’s project is aimed at improving the way we live, while ensuring our safety and wellbeing, as South Africa and the rest of the world still grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Etzinger.
International science fairs are excellent opportunities for South African young scientists to grow intellectually and socially. For this reason, 2021 saw a number local learners take part in international science fairs, including virtual tours to the Taiwan International Science Fair, the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and the Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl (GYSTB) Science Fair in Hong Kong, amongst others.
Information on how to view the Tunisia fair’s awards ceremony will be announced on the Eskom Expo social media platforms once it becomes available.