First female astronaut, to chair Jury of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards

First female astronaut, to chair Jury of the DStv Eutelsat Star Awards

Saturday, January 28, 2017 11:03 am


Daniels Ekugo

DSTV has announced a former female astronaut and French Minister, Claudie Haigneré as Chair Jury of the 2017 DStv Eutelsat Star Awards Competition. It would be the first time a woman is chairing the jury. Haigneré, aged 59, was the France’s first female astronaut. The organizers believe that choosing Haigneré will serve as a strong incentive for female students dreaming big, as it will inspire them to live up to their potentials.

DStv Eutelsat Star Awards is an annual pan-African competition for students between age 14-19, initiated by Multichoice, owners of the DStv brand and Eutelsat Communication, a satellites operating company. The competition tasks students to write an essay or design a poster on a satellite-related topic.

In the competition format, country winners from across Africa compete in the overall awards for a trip to the Eutelsat facilities in Paris, with the essay winner travelling onwards to witness a live rocket launch. Runners-up win a trip to South Africa as guests of MultiChoice Africa and the South African National Space Agency at Hartebeesthoek.

Schools attended by the overall winners also receive a DStv installation, including dish, television, state-of-the-art PVR decoder and free access to the DStv Education Bouquet. Winners at national levels win prizes such as computers or tablets.

To determine winners of the 2017 edition, Multichoice said Claudie Haigneré will preside over an international panel comprising of government officials and skilled industry experts such as: CEO of Innovative Technology Literacy Services Ltd (Nigeria), Ronke Bello, Eutelsat Regional Director for Africa, Rodney Benn, GM Broadcast Technology MultiChoice Africa, Melt Loubser, and Managing Director MultiChoice Nigeria John Ugbe.

Others are Elizabeth Ohene, journalist and former Minister of State to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports (Ghana), Prof. Stephen Simukanga, Former University of Zambia Chancellor and now Director General of the Higher Education Authority, and Jenerali Ulimwengu, well known writer, columnist and lawyer (Tanzania).

In a statement released by the company, it said the competition has been delivering on its aim to encourage young minds to positively change their world via innovative thinking in science and technology. Adding that about 6,000 secondary school students have entered the competition since it was established in 2011.

According to the statement, ‘‘2014 Zimbabwean essay winner Joseph Mahiya is currently enrolled in a programme run by the MasterCard Foundation. The scholarship is for an undergraduate degree in Computer Science with Software Engineering as well as Electrical Engineering starting August 2017at West Virginia University in the USA.

Eva Chemgorem, the 2012 poster winner is studying for a Bachelor of Science in Economics at Daystar University, Nairobi and will soon pursue a minor in International Relations. She hopes to use her education to shape policy and economic development in Kenya and the rest of world.’’

Winners of this year’s edition will be announced on 7 February in Lagos, Nigeria.

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