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African Insect Science for Food and Health - icipe

Source of the buttons of this thrips software are insect and tick models of the icipe calender 2010, which represent much of icipe´s research and developmental work. The photos of the sculptures and the children of Gentiana Primary School in Dagoretti, Nairobi (Kenya) were taken by Aziz Islamshah of AP Productions Ltd., Nairobi (Kenya). (icipe annual calender 2010)

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An Oasis in the Slum
Like many slums and other informal settlements, the neighbourhood of Kawangware, on the periphery of Nairobi, is characterised by rubbish piled up along streets and next to people´s homes and roads that change into rivers of mud during the rainy season. In addition, the residents of this area are faced by a myriad of other challenges, ranging from rampant unemployment, domestic violence, alcoholism, prostitution and diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Admist this mire and murk, Gentiana Primary School sits like an oasis, surrounded by a beautiful well-kept and trimmed Kei apple fence. Started in 1996, this private not-for-profit institution admits children of the poorest residents of the area, HIV/AIDS orphans, as well as intellectually challenged students who would hardly have a chance in public schools. The school is a home for its pupils, some of whom do not have a structure to call a home. This school is sponsored by the Gentiana Development Network and donors from Switzerland and Germany. The mission of Gentiana Primary School is to bring up the children under its charge, not only academically, but also to be upstanding members of the society.
Impressed by the vision, this year icipe asked the Gentiana pupils to showcase their artistic talent designing images for the Centre´s annual calender. The children narrate what being in the project meant for them:

Monica Wangui Most insects look complicated and it was difficult choosing the one to make. I observed butterflies perch on flowers and my friends urged me to try making that insect. The butterfly is a beautiful insect, which is common in certain seasons. I was not sure if I could capture this beauty, but with the help of pictures I learnt how to go about it. I collected wire and cartons and worked on the insect for two weeks. I enjoyed the project, especially when my classmates and I started working together and sharing ideas. I also learnt how to recycle old cartons, papers, wires and plastic.
Esther A. Owino

I was happy to construct a ladybird as it is my favourite insect. I used old wires for the sculpture and papier-maché from old newspapers and water paints to make it colourful. Initially, I wasn´t sure I could come up with a smart insect but in the end I enjoyed the project and kept improving on my model as I went on. Although I knew the ladybird from when I was very young, I learnt more about it during the project. For instance, I now know that it has six legs and two pairs of wings. It took me three days to complete the object.

Brighton Amutete Spiders are not insects. They are arachnids, but I felt I could make one to enrich the project. Spiders are common in the farms and in corners of houses where they spin their webs. I also made a grasshopper, which are common around our school. I collected wires of different thickness for the project. It was fun working with my friends and we joked about each other´s work. I worked for two weeks and always applied the characteristics of the insect to make it as real as possible.
Isaac Njuguna I made a wasp and it was easy because I had a picture to refer to. Wasps are also very common around our school. I used papier-maché and old wires. The project was challenging but with support of other students it was easier and enjoyable. During the four days that I worked on the insect, I learnt to recycle waste material in the environment.
Gladys Kwamboka I made my caterpillar from wires of different colours and papier-maché and coloured it with water paints. It was challenging folding and creating forms with wires. But with a little help and guidance, I was able to complete the project. I chose the caterpillar because it looked interesting to make. I learnt how to make criticism for my work and I was through within four days.
Joseph Mbaiya I used wires, old newspapers, banana fibre and paint. Ticks are only common where there are animals. I had only seen them once when we went to visit a farm near our school. I learnt how to recycle waste to make beautiful insects and ticks.
Chris Mburu I was excited to make a silkmoth. Like many other students, I had only seen it in pictures. I used pictures from a science book, wires, leaves and a piece of carton box. Through the project I learnt more about the features of the insect.

Source: icipe