this article was published on Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria
Due to insurgency in several parts of Northern Nigeria, there are over 2 million displaced persons in the country spread across IDP camps and host communities. In Abuja, there are 28,000 IDP’s residing in different camps in the city. In 2019, OAD sponsored the IDP Children’s Astronomy Outreach Project in Abuja, FCT. The camp has over 2500 inhabitants mostly living in overcrowded rooms and shared facilities, including the over 500 children that are benefitting from the solar powered learning hub installed in their camp ground.
The overcrowded camp is easy ground for the spread of COVID–19 virus if an index case arises in their camp. This project delivered a 5-point hand washing station in the camp, as well as, Posters in Hausa and English Language about the dangers of COVID–19, precautionary measures and lifestyles changes that they should take into cognizance. Also, the project delivered hand sanitizers, disinfectants, face masks, other general cleaning supplies and food supplies. As part of the efforts in sustaining the solar powered learning hub, Android tablets and a Desktop PC were provided at the IDP camp in Durunmi, Abuja.
The project team also partnered with the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the Skilled Women Initiative to train women in the IDP camp to produce hand sanitizers. All the sanitizers distributed for the project were made in-house. The launch of the project was aired on National Television, NTA (Nigerian Television Authority)
Funding for the project was provided by the IAU-OAD, African Astronomical Society, and African Planetarium Association who funded the 2020 COVID-19 Extraordinary Call for Proposals.