SAIAB News » SAIAB empowers and positions youth for aquatic related work at WWE

SAIAB empowers and positions youth for aquatic related work at WWE

By: Lucky Dlamini – DST/NRF-SAIAB Communications Intern and 
       Penny Haworth – SAIAB Communications Manager

 SAIAB and SAEON Elwandle Node exhibitions under the NRF AQUA ZONE banner, engaging with
learners about aquatic related fields of science.

The South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) participated at the Working World Exhibition’s 20 Year milestone event under the theme: “20 years of empowering and positioning youth for the world of work”. SAIAB was invited by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) to exhibit alongside its sister facility, SAEON Elwandle Node under the banner of ‘NRF AQUA ZONE’.

SAIAB interns, Lucky Dlamini and Tholoana Ntokoana showing their
bright smiles at the Working World Exhibition.

Two NRF interns hosted at SAIAB, Tholoana Ntokoane (research intern) and Lucky Dlamini (communications intern), displayed aquatic related materials as part of a hands-on exhibit which has always been very interactive and a success with learners wanting to find out more about water and water-based research and careers. WWE is a great learning curve and SAIAB used this opportunity to showcase some of the specimen curated in its Collection Facility. The aim is to teach learners how preserving and curating natural history specimens is essential for understanding, conserving and protecting our natural heritage and resources. The SAIAB team also raised awareness about WWF’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI), a consumer awareness project which encourages the public to make more informed seafood choices, based on scientific data. SAIAB is a networking partner and has contributed through making fish illustrations, by Elaine Heemstra, available to SASSI for its educational resources and branding.

Tholoana Ntokoana demonstrating one of SAIAB’s collection specimens: a preserved marine eel. In the background is the
WWF-SASSI poster showing various sustainable sea food choices and the #LivingRRI poster which was used to explain
SAIAB’s position as an Embedded Nucleus on the EU-funded NUCLEUS project promoting Responsible Research and Innovation
in higher education institutions.

Interestingly, this year also marks a milestone for SAIAB which will be celebrating its 50th year as a research institute. SAIAB’s participation at WWE is one of the ways in which the Institute is giving back to society through formal and informal science education events.

SAIAB’s participation demonstrated a positive outlook on two levels:

Firstly, SAIAB’s participation at WWE is an opportunity for SAIAB to work hand-in-hand with SAASTA and SAEON to advance the NRF’s role in science and career development of young South Africans in our often neglected Eastern Cape Province.  Secondly, it also reflects continued support of local events management business, Inkanyezi Events, which organises high-profile and highly successful Eastern Cape events like WWE.

Making science education and careers attractive for young people and contributing to the improvement of science literacy in our society is an ambitious goal for SAIAB. In addition to this, SAIAB seeks to foster the uptake of Responsible Research and Innovation - #LivingRRI - to ensure good institutional governance in society.

Lucky Dlamini giving the learners hands-on exposure to SAIAB’s dry collection with a shark’s lower jaw.

This is what some of the learners had to say about SAIAB’s exhibition: