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Transform lives by inspiring young people, teachers and communities with an innovative model for hands-on science education in Africa
211 backers pledged £15,369 to help bring this project to life.


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We are very close to reaching our target of £13,500, the minimum threshold for making Lab_13 Ghana a reality. We now have our sights set on reaching three stretch targets before our Kickstarter deadline of Midnight Friday 21 November:

Stretch 1: £1,500 - COMPLETED 20/11/2014! - to team up with the amazing VOTO to foster and strengthen our networks of school teachers through regular SMS and voice ScienceCasts, data collection and surveys.

Stretch 2: £1000 - securing a venue for a conference to bring together science teachers and educators from across Ghana to learn about the Lab_13 pilot and discuss how the approach can be developed for other education districts.

Stretch 3: £1000 - equipment, training and resources to deliver six solar innovation workshops for students, building on the success of the Lightyear DIY Solar Workshop, June 2014.

If you want to find out more about these activities, ask us in the comments - we would love to tell you more!


Lab_13 Ghana is a partnership project between Lightyear Foundation who run science projects in Africa, and Ignite! the founders of Lab_13 in the UK.

Together, we are aiming to set up a trial version of Lab_13 in Ghana to establish a ‘proof of concept’ for a new model science education in resource-constrained environments.

What is Lab_13?

Lab_13 is a dedicated space in a school, managed by young people for young people - where curiosity and experimentation are driven by imagination. 

Lab_13 is managed by a committee of young people who are guided and encouraged by a scientist-in-residence who is not a teacher. Scientific enquiry comes from the pupils’ questions and imagination.

Science achievement is highest when individual pupils are involved in planning, carrying out and evaluating investigations that they have suggested themselves’ Ofsted, Maintaining Curiosity, November 2013

Lab_13 has built my confidence – it’s an exciting place to be – it’s a lovely working space for all of the school to come and ask questions and to learn in’ Ellie, Irchester Primary School.

Who are we?

The team is led by Fran Ling and Laura Youngson from Lightyear and Rick Hall from Ignite!

In Ghana, the project is overseen by Joseph Donkor, the Vice-Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), Ashanti Region and a Lightyear Foundation partner since 2011.

The wider team brings together passionate and committed people, giving their skills, expertise and time to make the project a success.

The Project

We will engage six Scientists in Residence to create Lab_13 in Bosumtwe District in Ghana, operating for a six month period from March to September 2015. 

  • Activities for children to gain deeper understanding of science in their everyday lives 
  • Support for teachers to build confidence and find new ways to teach science 
  • Creation of space for curiosity-led, hands-on science within the community
  • Engagement with 160 primary schools and 70 Junior High schools 
  • Establishment of a Lab_13 Ghana Board to have local ownership of the project
  • Recruitment of 2 international and 4 Ghanaian Scientists in Residence 
  • Development of a robust monitoring and evaluation to provide evidence of impact

Why Ghana?

Ghana has a critical shortage of trained scientists and engineers. These skills are essential if it is to successfully develop its rich natural resources, build much-needed infrastructure and compete in the global knowledge economy.

Many solutions to key development challenges can be solved through a basic understanding of science: from reducing mortality from diarrhoea by learning how bacteria work to powering mobiles via homemade solar panels.

Science teaches students to be curious and their ingenuity, talent and innovation can be harnessed to improve the lives of their communities.

The Bosomtwe education district has been identified as a site for the Lab_13 Ghana pilot due to the strong relationship Lightyear has fostered with key partners over the last three years.

Why do we need your support?

We need your support to fund the initial pilot project in Ghana. It will provide the vital knowledge we need to build a sustainable model to support creative science education. 

 The pilot will deliver a model for: 

  • a sustainable science education programme in Ghana 
  • quality learning outcomes in practice and research 
  • collaboration and shared expertise between the UK and Africa 
  • a model that can be developed across the world

The financials - how much will it cost and where will the money go?

Our Kickstarter target represents the minimum amount we need to make this project a reality. It will cover the costs for six Scientists in Residence leading and developing science activities for students, teachers and communities for six months. It will also meet the costs of a Ghanaian external evaluator to ensure the pilot is rigorously reviewed and evidenced. 

Total target: £13500

  • Science materials, premises and transport - £3500 
  • Six Scientists in Residence - £5000
  • Set-up costs - £2800
  • Monitoring and evaluation -  £2200

Lightyear and Ignite! are using their existing funds to add to those raised through this Kickstarter, covering costs of fundraising, UK management, recruitment of Scientists in Residence and establishing the Lab_13 Ghana Board.

How your help will make a difference

  • Directly support Ghanaian young people to improve their chances of employment
  • Help teachers gain the confidence to lead a new era of science education
  • Support an exciting programme of new scientific research and learning

Our future vision

In the long-term, we aspire to use the model and expertise developed through the Lab_13 Ghana pilot as a beacon of what can be achieved in other parts of Ghana, Africa and across the world.


If you want to know more, follow the links below or get in touch to ask us a question!

Further reading

RSA Support

Lab_13 Ghana is proud to be featured on the RSA curated area of Kickstarter, which selects the best new ideas to help tackle social problems that its 27,000 Fellows are looking to deliver. Laura and Rick are RSA Fellows and have been selected to be part of this. Click here to see more RSA-backed projects and find out more about the RSA.

Lightyear and Ignite! gratefully acknowledge the support of the RSA Catalyst that provided funds and support for us to complete a detailed feasibility study of Lab_13 in Ghana. This study was vital to fully explore and analyse the considerations and requirements for making the project and this Kickstarter campaign a success and reality. Thank you!

Risks and challenges

This project is not without risks, but as two organisations that promote science, Lightyear and Ignite! are well able to test the model, review, evaluate and evolve based on the evidence of impact we capture.

We recognise three key challenges:
1. Ownership within Ghana
The Ghana Advisory Board will be vital in shaping long-term development through connecting Lab_13 Ghana into existing networks and groups, and securing funding from Ghana-based organisations.

2. Sustainability
The long-term sustainability of Lab_13 Ghana under local ownership will be addressed in the pilot. The Advisory Board, Lightyear and Ignite! will recommend solutions based on the evidence captured, therefore rigorous and robust monitoring and evaluation will be a priority.

3. Commitment
Regardless of the outcome of the pilot, we will take the learning to ensure our future strategy and activities are high-quality, sustainable and make a real difference to science education around the world.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ


  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £8 or more About US$ 10

    £8 will cover the cost of a half day workshop with a class of 40 students.
    For your pledge you will receive an exclusive activity guide from our Science on a Shoestring series for you to impress your fiends and family this Christmas.

    Estimated delivery
    51 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £24 or more About US$ 30

    £24 will cover the cost of a school science club for six weeks.
    For your pledge you will receive a laser-cut membership badge for Club Lab_13 Ghana to stand out from the crowd and impress your friends with your geek chic credentials.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    43 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About US$ 75

    £60 will cover the costs of rent and utilities for one week.
    For your pledge we will add your name and photo on the Lab_13 Wall of Awesome, and send you a picture to prove it.

    Estimated delivery
    28 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About US$ 151

    £120 will cover the cost of locally-sourced science materials for one month of activities with students, teachers and communities.
    For your pledge you will be invited to participate in a virtual tour of Lab_13 Ghana and a science Q&A with our Scientists in Residence and student management team.

    Estimated delivery
    4 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About US$ 314

    £250 will cover the cost of a week-long workshop with teachers to develop new practical science activities using local materials.
    For your pledge you will have the opportunity to suggest and discuss a science activity based on a topic of your choice with users of Lab_13 Ghana. They will provide a video journal of putting your ideas into action.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 4 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About US$ 628

    £500 will cover the salary for our four Ghanaian Scientists in Residence for one month.
    For your pledge we will send you a limited edition Lab_13 Ghana lab coat, trimmed with bright and beautiful Ghanaian fabric. We will arrange for three Skype catch-up's with the team over the course of the pilot for you to see what your pledge has made possible.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United Kingdom
    Limited 2 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,100 or more About US$ 1,383

    £1100 will cover the cost of getting our two international scientists in residence to Ghana.
    For your pledge you are invited to join us for the send-off celebration in London in February 2015 before they head to Ghana. We will arrange for a regular updates and Skype calls from the team for you to see what your pledge has made possible.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United Kingdom
    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (30 days)