Meet the Winner of 2019 Space in Africa Essay Competition

We asked young women and girls across Africa to propose solutions for Enhancing Women Participation in the African Space Industry. We received 106 essay entries with impressive contents from 20 African countries, providing insights to what can be done to enhance women participation in STEM sectors in general and the space sector in particular. With such invaluable insights from 106 young women across Africa who are STEM enthusiasts and young professionals, we hope to advise industry stakeholders and policymakers on how to effectively address the gender gap in the space industry.

Meet the writer of the winning essay and the two runner ups.


Dr. Anita Antwiwaa

Dr. Anita is a certified Engineer with a PhD in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS), India. Her interests include; Women in STEMI Education, Entrepreneurial STEM Education for the next generation, Satellite Communication etc. She serves as one of the representatives for Ghana at the Global Earth Observation(GEO) programme Board.

She was the Advisor for Women in Engineering (IEEE- ANUC Chapter) in 2013. She is currently the Head of Operations for All Nations University Space Systems Technology Laboratory (SSTL) which successfully launched the historic GhanaSat-1 in 2017 to take photographs of the Earth and to monitor Ghana’s coastal areas.


Gracious Ernest

Gracious Ernest is a Bar II Candidate at the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. She is passionate about her faith, storytelling, Model United Nations, and is committed to actualizing the SDGs by 2030. Recently, she was selected as part of the Women Deliver Young Leaders Class of 2018 in her drive for gender equality and achieving women’s right in Africa.

Gracious also volunteers as a contributing writer on She Leads Africa and For Creatives Girls. She hopes to become fluent in four languages by 2020. She is also passionate about leading the next generation of policymakers and global influencers.


Noampumelelo Ursula

Noampumelelo Ursula is a qualified electrician with six years of experience in the industry. She recently finished her diploma modules towards Electronic communications and work as an intern at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).

Noampumelelo benefited from the Cell-C take a girl child to work program, which was where her love for engineering began. She is self-driven and strongly believes in women’s capabilities to flourish in any level playing environment. As a way to demonstrate her passion, Noampumelelo mentors a few female learners and assist them with Maths and Science.


The Prize:

  • The author of the winning essay will receive a travel grant of USD 500 (to cover airfare from home country to Morocco) to attend the Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries coming up in Marrakesh, Morocco between 24-26 April 2019.
  • A Conference Registration Waiver worth €210. Thanks to the International Astronautical Federation (IAF).
  • Free 6-month access to all premium contents on Space in Africa which cost $50.
  • The winning essay will be published on Space in Africa.
  • Top 10 finalists essays would be published in Springer’s Southern Space Studies Series.


Thanks to all our judges.

  1. Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty – Assistant Professor, Arizona State University
  2. Nana Ama Browne – Manager, Remote Sensing, GIS & Climate Centre; Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute
  3. Annette Froehlich – Senior Lecturer, SpaceLab, University of Capetown
  4. Camille Wardrop Alleyne – Deputy Project Manager, Commercial Lunar Payloads Services, NASA
  5. Babatunde Akinsanmi – Astrophysicist, NASRDA
  6. Sylvia Makario – Partner Manager, Space in Africa
  7. Jeff Demain – Advisory Board Member, Space in Africa