Four projects from Africa win IAU100 grant to implement astronomy initiatives

21 diverse and innovative projects from around the world have been selected to receive financial support to conduct astronomy activities throughout 2019 in the framework of the IAU100 celebrations by the International Astronautical Union.

In March 2018, the IAU100 Task Force issued a call for proposals for Special projects in support of the IAU100 goals at a local or national level. Following a review of more than 150 applications from 65 countries, the task force has selected 21 diverse projects that will be financially supported with micro-grants to implement their astronomy initiatives under one or more of the IAU100 100 Themes.

Out of the 21 projects, 5 of them are from Africa and they would receive financial support from the IAU100 and will be implemented throughout 2019.

  • Amanar: Under the Same Sky (Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria and Spain) will use astronomy as a cultural bridge between Sahrawi refugees children from camps of Tindouf, Algeria, and the residents of the nearby Canary Islands (Spain).

Amanar, Pleiades in Berber, is a project that aims to inspire children from the Sahrawi refugee camps near Tindouf, Algeria, and the Canary Islands, Spain, using Astronomy. The goal of this initiative is to promote quality science education and to support the youth and teachers of the Sahrawi refugee camps, who have been afflicted by social struggles for over four decades. Additionally, Amanar will use Astronomy as a cultural bridge between children from these two locations to foster a sense of global citizenship, mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence.

The project will comprise 2 phases:

  1. Astronomy outreach activities and teacher workshops in schools at the refugee camps

  2. Astronomy outreach activities and visits to observatories for the refugee children spending the summer in the Canary Islands within the Holidays in Peace program. The project will result in the long-term sustainability of the intended summer program for children of both communities.

More information about the project is available here.

  • The Astronomy Roadshow-Trans Zambia project (Zambia) aims to inspire and educate youth and to train science educators to teach astronomy through the organisation of a workshop and star parties.

The project will involve a team of 8-12 persons carrying out outreach activities in Zambia, including Kitwe, Kapiri Mposhi, Mumbwa and Mongu. The activities will include public lectures, outreach to schools, star gazing and presentation of selected experiments and demonstrations to schools and the public (with the use of a travelling laboratory). We will use Galileo telescopes, an 8 inch optical telescope, and other education materials,such as the Universe Awareness Universe in a Box and the Dark Skies Outreach kit.

More information about this project is available here.

  • Exploring the Wonders of the Heavens, through astronomy and science clubs in schools (Ghana) intends to inspire and educate teachers and students in astronomy through the establishment of astronomy clubs in schools.

The aim of this project is to stimulate  interest, to inspire and to educate teachers and students in astronomy. This will be achieved by establishing Astronomy clubs in Schools or astronomy sections within existing science clubs. The project aims to encourage students of all ages from both public and private schools to form Astronomy Clubs.  Workshops on different astronomical topics will be conducted according to the students’ age, e.g. solar system, gravity, origin of the universe, by handing out/using various materials, e.g. handouts, booklets, telescopes and by performing practical science demonstrations with the students.This project also hopes to stimulate discussions about current and future astronomical concepts and questions, such as life on other planets.

More information about this project is available here.

  • Let me be Part of the Universe (Mozambique) aims to promote gender equality in underprivileged areas of Mozambique through astronomy by prioritising the education of girls and families and highlighting the role of women in astronomy.

This project aims to promote gender equality in unprivileged areas of Mozambique using astronomy and astronomy-related topics. Activities will take place in provinces including Niassa, Cabo-Delgado, Nampula, Tete and Sofala, where there are high levels of school abandonment by girls.. During these visits, organised talks will introduce astronomical concepts (such as stars, planets, and constellations) to the young pupils. Parents will also be invited to participate for important public talks focused on women in astronomy. Sky observations will also involve the local community.

More information about this project is available here.

Congratulations to all grant recipients.