OAD Director, Kevin Govender, past OAD fellow, Marie Korsaga, and OAD project coordinator, Yumna Majeed, are among 25 people across the world featured in the “Space for Our Planet” exhibition.
The “Space for Our Planet” exhibition looks at the integral role that space (and astronomy) play in the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, the exhibition creators, Fiorella Coliolo and Benoit Delplanque, interviewed 25 people around the world, from fishermen to astronauts, from students to climate experts, to examine how space technologies contribute to the attainment of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
OAD Director, Kevin Govender, as well as past OAD fellow, Marie Korsaga, and OAD project coordinator, Yumna Majeed, have all been profiled in the exhibition. Kevin’s work is featured under SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities while Marie and Yumna’s testimonies are under SDG 5: Gender Equality.
SDG 5. Gender equality
Marie Korsaga is an astrophysicist from Burkina Faso, the first female astrophysics researcher from the region. She says, “astronomy can help promote male-female equality, because with properly implemented equality policies, it’ll open up access for girls and women to the sciences and give them an important role within the disciplines whatever their social background, whether privileged or underprivileged. I think we need to draw up some strong measures and bring in policies for male and female equality in the sciences.”
“We have to create opportunities to promote access for girls and women in science subjects, via study and research grants. We have to create a positive environment for female researchers and for women in the sciences in general.”
– Dr. Marie Korsaga, astrophysicist and past OAD Fellow
Yumna Majeed is a space educator in Pakistan who received an OAD project grant under the COVID-19 special call. She believes that “space is for all, and the stars shine for everyone regardless of their socio-economic background.”
Representation of girls and women in science, not only in space, but also in science is really low. I think that space is a very vast topic, and involves all the sciences; so space is a great way to represent and to empower young girls and women.
– Yumna Majeed, space educator and OAD project coordinator
SDG 10: Reduced Inequality
OAD Director, Kevin Govender, speaks about astronomy for development and the work of the OAD. “Humanity shares a common feature, curiosity and that curiosity seeks beyond the things that make us unequal. Astronomy taps into this curiosity. We try to inspire people from different parts of the world to engage with learning about the universe, but also engage with dreaming, dreaming of careers, careers in science and technology, careers outside of their usual environment. This enables people to dream big and to think of what can be done to address the challenges facing society today.
Another aspect of our work has been skills development to use astronomy to stimulate skillsets. If everyone has access to skills then they will also have access to greater opportunities.”
“Astronomy enables people to dream big, regardless of their background”
– Kevin Govender, OAD Director