The DARA Big Data program funded astronomy-for-development projects in the DARA countries in 2018. Proposals were invited from DARA students and the top proposals from each country were funded for implementation.
The following projects were selected for funding in 2018.
Botswana: Women in STEM
There is a shortage of women in STEM fields, especially in the growing space sector in Botswana.This project addresses the gender disparity by looking at recruitment of women into STEM fields and building collaborations across genders in STEM research or entrepreneurship projects.
Ghana: Promoting Radio Astronomy in Ghana through School Visits and Astronomy Clubs
The project aims to grow an appreciation of the importance and benefits of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory at Kuntunse. School visits and school clubs will be the primary means of interaction in order to give students first-hand practical, astronomy information.
Kenya: Sayari – Astrotourism and conservation awareness in Kenyan game reserves
The Sayari project involves collaborating with lodges in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, and training their guides in basic astronomy, ethnoastronomy, light pollution awareness and telescope operation. Sayari aims to kickstart the astrotourism industry in Kenya, ultimately providing employment opportunities to young graduates across the country.
Mozambique: Astro-Eco Tourism in Mozambique
This project aims to use astronomy as a tool to promote the local ecotourism and a local sustainable development in unprivileged areas of Mozambique. We plan to carry on a pilot project, training interested people of the local community of Ponta D’Ouro for guide purpose and matters related to the sky observations. On the other hand, we will have a close collaboration with touristic instances of Ponta D’ Ouro and travel agencies, advising them to introduce astronomical observations in their tour packages.
The objective of the MadAstroMag project is to provide information and orientation to high school learners so that they have ideas about their future career and academic goal. Since Astronomy is a very recent curriculum in the country, this project is also an opportunity to inform schools about the local Astronomy activities and especially the SKA/AVN project
Namibia: Astronomy outreach programme in Namibia
There is a stereotype that mathematics and science related field are for men. Few women take further studies or choose careers in scientific fields. This project aims to increase awareness and interest for learners in public schools by increasing understanding of the roles that
astronomy and technology play in our everyday lives and culture. The project will focus on underprivileged learners in the schools located in the township of Windhoek area.
Zambia: Improving weather prediction for food and energy security
The project will mainly involve the meteorological department of the Zambian government, as our main collaborator. The project will be undertaken in Zambia, with a possibility of extending to the SADC region.The project aims to improve the weather prediction by incorporating Global Navigation Satellite System(GNSS) technologies and expanding existing weather forecasting facilities in the country, so as to improve food production and green energy security.