Astro Molo Mhlaba targets the issues of inclusivity in SA science by engaging its most underrepresented group – black girls from underserved communities – in astronomy programmes at various stages of education. These are used as a tool to inspire girls to be passionate about science, motivate them to pursue a career in STEM, and provide them with the tools required to turn their ambitions into reality. Through its regular, long-term structure, AMM provides girls with the continuous support required to achieve their potential, which schools in their communities seldom have the resources to provide. We offer:
1. Astro Club: weekly, after-school programme providing astronomy-based activities to local primary school girls
2. Astro Academy: weekly, after-school lessons aimed at both grade 11/12 (G11/12) female students (schools names Q19) from local high schools and four recently-matriculated young women. The latter are trained to run the Astro Club as Facilitators (ACFs). All participants are taught and mentored by female astronomers, and provided with STEM-career advice and support.
G11/12 and ACFs are provided with maths & science tutoring by a professional tutor, to ensure they meet the grades needed to apply to university and financial aid schemes; ACFs receive a bursary for their work, to ensure they have source of income while learning about astronomy and considering the pursuit of a STEM degree; We have a 100% retention rate, and have expanded to include a Philippi school following large requests from students in the area.
The requested funds will cover the costs of continuing our programme in the schools currently enrolled. The University of the Western Cape covers our printing and some of the material costs. We have raised EUR827 in donations in 2 months. An increase in the number of participating schools will be contingent on the recruitment of more volunteers, to ensure the quality targets for our programmes are met.