IOP members raise over £15,000 for African schools in first month of campaigning

1 February 2011

IOP for Africa, IOP’s first ever fundraising campaign, which aims to generate funds for projects in sub-Saharan countries training physics teachers and providing vital equipment to schools (as part of IOP’s Physics for Development programme), has raised an impressive £15,000 in its first month.

The campaign was launched in early December last year with a letter appeal to the entire IOP membership from IOP president Prof. Marshall Stoneham, in which he explained IOP’s plans to support particularly deserving projects that are likely to have the biggest impact. “I am in no doubt that the support we provide for practical physics teaching in African schools is such an initiative,” Prof. Stoneham said. IOP membership seemed to agree, with donations flowing in steadily in the lead-up to Christmas and well into the new year.

Dipali Chauhan, manager of the Physics for Development programme at IOP, said: “We are hugely grateful to all our members who have donated so generously to the campaign – the funds we’ve raised will go a long way in helping us set up a teacher training centre in Malawi, in partnership with the charity Ripple Africa. Our involvement in Malawi is still very recent, but thanks to the work of our volunteers and to the new funds available, we expect to make considerable progress this year.”

IOP’s involvement in sub-Saharan Africa began in 2005, when IOP member and physics teacher David Richardson visited Rwanda and decided to organise donations of equipment to a school in Kigali. By the following year, a workshop was built at the same school and local staff were trained to produce physics equipment for other schools in the area. Since then, the project has grown considerably, and is now able to employ a local manager to run the workshop and support teachers using the equipment in the classroom.

“A small amount of money can make a big difference in Africa, so any donation, however big or small, helps us make a real difference to physics education in these countries,” says Dipali Chauhan. “We hope we can continue engaging our membership to help us raise funds for this cause, as well as the public at large.”

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