Primary School Students Gather At Think Corner To Celebrate Africa Day

University of Helsinki

The event provided a glimpse for over 100 students into what it's like to conduct research in different parts of Africa.

(Image: Maaria Manyando)

Where in Africa can you find the most delicious food? Do people listen to Taylor Swift in different parts of Africa? These were some of the questions that students asked at the University of Helsinki's Africa Day event at Think Corner. Over 100 students were introduced to Africa by journalist Anna Järviluoma. Researchers from the University of Helsinki shared their research on the themes of food, one health, and languages and cultures.

Tuuli Toivanen and Hilla Harju, sixth-grade students of Kaisaniemi Primary School, took part in the event with their teacher and classmates.

- It was exciting to see how much research is done at the University. I hadn't realised before how diverse the work here is, Tuuli said.

- Even though we have studied Africa at school, I learned a lot of new things. The topic about dogs was especially interesting because I could compare with my experience of my own dog, Hilla added.

Health, food and music

At the event, the researchers shared their experiences, highlighting the importance of science and cooperation in solving global challenges.

Associate Professor Annamari Heikinheimo leads a research group that focuses on antibiotic resistance. Her research covers human, animal, and environmental health. At the event, she talked about her work with dogs, particularly in Kenya, and with Kenyan colleagues.

University lecturer Noora Kanerva and assistant professor Ndegwa H. Maina discussed food safety and nutrition in Africa. The students were particularly interested in hearing about how the food eaten in African countries and Finnish food differ and where the most delicious food in Africa can be found.

University lecturer Lotta Aunio shed light on the diversity of African cultures and languages. In addition, the researcher introduced the audience to different African music styles. And yes, people do listen to Taylor Swift in African countries, but the continent also has its own superstars.

Research-based information for schools

Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May to commemorate the founding of the African Union. The University of Helsinki organises an annual Africa Day, during which the research carried out at the University is introduced to stakeholders. This year, the target group was primary school children, and the goal was to expand the image of Africa and offer new, research-based information for use by primary schools.

Tuuli Toivanen and Hilla Harju both expressed that they would like to revisit the University of Helsinki. They will be moving to middle school next autumn. Before that, a well-deserved summer vacation awaits.

You can watch the Science and Research in Africa event at on Unitube.

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