Every year, the OAD receives numerous, good quality proposals that we are unable to support. We compile these projects on to a ‘Recommended List’, which is shared here for the benefit of potential funders. The 2022 Recommended List has 15 projects. Read the project summaries below.
Please contact us to support or collaborate with one or more of the projects.
|Project Title||Target countries||Summary|
|Training astro guides in the Northern Cape, South Africa||South Africa||Unemployment is a debilitating aspect of humanity. This can be alleviated by creating income opportunities for capable individuals to fulfill their potential by becoming ambassadors of science and astronomy.
To set up a pilot project in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa which will identify and train people in a selected community (possibly Calvinia) to become ambassadors of science and specifically the science of astronomy. The trainees will become Astronomy Tourist Guides in order to present “star shows” to the public.
The aim is to provide the opportunity to become entrepreneurs by self-employment. If this pilot project proves to be successful (see below), then the next step would be to expand the project throughout the Northern Cape Province in viable towns along main tourist routes. A new application will be made for follow up projects.
To Achieve the above mentioned goal an agreement must be reached between OAD and the targeted municipal council in the Northern Cape Province (look below and question 15 “Risks”). The Municipal Councils are, in general, very poor and will be unable to assist where big financial burdens are involved. Thus, a cooperation agreement between “OAD” (our team sponsored by OAD) and the municipal councils would be advantageous to all.
OAD provides the training to the recipients for free.
OAD provides telescopes and other basic equipment.
The municipal council provides the viewing terrain with facilities, storage space as well as goodwill.
Responsibilities of the Municipal Council: The selected Town Council provides two sites. The first is a safe store room where our team can store the equipment such as telescopes, binoculars, green lasers, laptop and video projector. The second site is a dark sky site, that is accessible to the public, safe, with toilets, and that needs to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Nigeria’s archaeoastronomy and ethnoastronomy is as diverse as her over 300 ethnic groups. Most of the ethnic groups have astronomy-rich cultures and practices. The sky entities (Sun, Moon and the Stars) are seen to manifest natural and supernatural powers and this inspires reverence and fear. Therefore, a good understanding and application of the cosmological ideas of a people are the basic prerequisites for achieving a balanced social, economic, political and technological development. This is one of the greatest challenges of our time being able to revolutionize the thought pattern of the public; “scientificating” our worldview and linking it with other worldviews; and demystifying the “mysterious heavenlies”. The indigenous, endogenous, traditional, or cultural astronomy focuses on the many ways that people and cultures interact with celestial bodies. However, most of these sites are being destroyed by uninformed persons within the communities (calling them idols). Examples are:
|“Allande Stars: Discovering the culture and heritage of the rural area through Astronomy”||Spain||
Allande Stars project aims to share Science and Astronomy in Allande, a rural area in North Spain, an isolated mountainous land with very little access to science outreach programs. Over the last 60 years the region has suffered from a dramatic decline losing an 80% of its population and leading to a permanent recession on basic services. This situation however, has favoured the preservation the pristine environmental conditions of the area providing unique framework for sustainable development projects, in particular, the quality of the night sky offers outstanding conditions for Astronomy outreach activities.
|Girl for Code: learning technology for development||Chile||
Encouraging female students to learn to code and acquire transferable programming skills is a vehicle for development. Girls x Code will work with female students and teachers from vulnerable areas in Chile to produce resources that can democratize access to technology and coding skills. The contents of these resources will borrow from the wealth of techniques and data used in astronomy. We strongly wish to allow the vulnerable students of Chile to look into the world of coding and see it as a viable option for their future. Girls x Code will promote inclusion and enhance job and occupational perspectives unavailable in the current school system.
|Astronomy as a tool for Education in Public Libraries||Romania, Republic of Moldova||
By learning about the role of astronomy and science in daily life, the project will equip young people from primary and secondary school in rural areas with knowledge that encourage them to think critically and autonomously, and in the same time increase their science literacy at the age when their curiosity is high, their value systems are being formed and seeds of future aspirations are being sown. The project will be a first step in developing their skills to become educated active citizens and we will encouraged them to take ownership over their education needs, being empowered to act and contribute to positive change by defending their rights and others’ to education.
|Pilot program: Astrostays in the middle of the world||Ecuador||
The pandemic restricted people’s mobility, however an increase in tourism is expected to recover all over the world. Ecuador, recognized as an attractive travel destination, has more natural sites to visit than the Galapagos Islands, nevertheless, continental and rural regions remain still unexplored. La Chorrera, located near the Equator, is a poor fisherman village with welcoming customs. Although it is known for its gastronomy and beautiful beaches, it lacks places to stay making the experiential tourism underdeveloped. Tourists look for an immersion travel but the host conditions are under-qualified. Being in the neighborhood of the equatorial line, it is a perfect place to observe the sky and learn about the astronomical history of Ecuador. The first geodesic mission landed in this coastal in 1736, and the environment remains preserved to nowadays.
|IDP Children Astronomy Outreach||Nigeria||
This project aims to use Astronomy as a tool to educate, counsel and heal traumatized children from conflicts related to farmers-herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
|Installation of “Astro Digital Library” in underserved communities through decentralised digital intervention.||India||
UNESCO reports a US $148 billion annual financing gap in low and lower-middle-income countries to achieve SDG 4 by 2030 and the pandemic has widened this gap. In India, pandemic along with chronic digital divide impeded access to education for millions of students, making national quality education targets unattainable. A community owned second chance education platform is a feasible solution to tackle the digital divide and promote quality education at the grass-roots. Astro Digital Library, envisaged on similar lines, is a decentralized community-owned digital library targeting geographically/socially/economically underserved communities with limited or no access to the internet. It lets people to consume the educational content without the need of internet. ADL server hosts 250 GB of localized astronomy educational content. All community members can access this via the computers (~5) in the ADL centre or via Wi-Fi hotspots (3 routers covering ~0.5 km) using their devices. A maximum of 50 people can access ADL concurrently. The content curation, creation and translation will be led by Open Space Foundation (OSF) educators team. The resources will be published as Open Educational Resources (OER) under Creative Commons (CC) licence. Other STEAM resources will also be uploaded in the future. The project will be implemented in Ahamalai tribal village, Theni, Tamil Nadu and Ambedkar Community Computing Center (AC3), Bengaluru, Karnataka, where OSF has been conducting astronomy sessions and other educational intervention. Student leaders will be identified and offered skill development training to own and manage ADL. Leadership training ensures ownership and knowledge transfer, thereby creating successive leadership. OSF will collaborate with local governments and local actors to establish a strong and continued community support, and ownership of ADL will be devolved to the community in due course.
|Stone Edge All Sky (SEAS) Survey||WAROAD (Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso||
In May 2020, GLAS Education (NAROAD member), in partnership with the WAROAD, launched a project to provide students whose astronomy opportunities had been reduced or discontinued due to COVID to participate in remote observing with the 0.5-meter Stone Edge Observatory telescope. Data hotspots were purchased for 23 students so they could participate remotely with astronomers and staff at GLAS Education on a variety of projects. The work resulted in 30 online planning and teaching sessions, the compilation of online resources in a Google Classroom, over 50 hours of observing, three presentations at professional conferences, an AAS Education Blog feature, and two published papers. In spite of these successes, there remains enormous untapped potential. The new project seeks to build a cohort of leaders and participants, increase the number of women participants, increase cultural understanding across ROADs, stabilize retention of new participants, promote consistent progress toward research goals, and provide specialized research training opportunities. Furthermore, the skills obtained within the context of these projects will provide a foundation for big data applications and Python programming proficiency, necessary for both academic and industry positions.
|Reaching the Needy Communities through Astronomy Education||Uganda||
Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa, once said “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that the child of a farmworker can become the president of a great nation…”
|Space Flight Project: Mission Strato||Nigeria||
The Space Flight Project: Mission Strato is designed to be a hands-on education program for Secondary School students. The aim of the project is to offer secondary school students the opportunity to design, develop and build a scientific experiment and fly it to the near-space region with a stratospheric balloon. A major objective of the project is to inspire the next generation of astronomers, scientists and engineers that will develop the next phase of Nigeria’s Space Research & Development Project.
|I Latin American Meeting of Teaching and Didactics of Astronomy||Colombia||
From the Andean Astronomy ROAD, we have wanted to promote learning and the joint construction of knowledge among teachers. To teach/build knowledge and allow students to live a memorable learning experience we have wanted teachers to learn while enjoying Knowledge. Fortunately, astronomy, in addition to being entertaining, is presented as a common and transversal thread for many areas of knowledge and is interesting for teachers, young people, and children.
Astronomy can contribute to teaching work not only from the concepts and knowledge themselves, but it can also help to show human knowledge as a construction that intertwines the natural environment, with the human being and its purpose in the recognition of its planet home and space exploration. This will allow teachers and consequently their students to be able to see the future with dreamy eyes and with a thirst for knowledge in the long term.
Additionally, it seeks to address current issues and that each country is experiencing the problems we have with the slow but constant increase in light pollution to find ways to mitigate it. Also next year we will include several projects in which teachers and observatories can collaborate to teach students how interesting the data is. In general, the next Classroom Under the sky must link STEAM with the real situations the planet Earth is facing.
The theme next year, and each of the years in which the event takes place, will be related to astronomy and cultural sky knowledge. In 2022 the subject that will be related to Climate Crisis and how the Schools and Planetariums can work together to propose alternatives to mitigate this problem. The main idea would be to learn about the special place the Earth has in the universe and why we must protect it.
|Astronomy through self-learning resources||Chile (it could be expanded to other countries in the Southern hemisphere)||
AstroSLR addresses school children interested in astronomy/science and motivated teachers, to provide educational tools with a focus on analytical and critical thinking for lifelong learning skills.
|South West and Central Asian Regional Workshop and Internship||SWCA ROAD countries: Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkey||
The project is aimed at organizing a regional workshop and internship: “South West and Central Asian Regional Workshop” on 12-16 September, 2022, two months internships for the regional students, as well as publishing scientific and popular materials. The subject of the workshop will be “Space Sciences and Technologies”, as this is rather important for the integration of our regional countries in this rapidly developing area and the project will help to promote Space Sciences and Technologies to South West and Central Asian (SWCA) region. The project will be focused on hands on activities and effective communication skills. Young scientists and students from the SWCA region are the target group of the project, as well as senior researchers who will serve as tutors. From each country (Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkey) a young astronomer will be chosen for having 2 months internship at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO). BAO with its facilities will serve as the host of the workshop. It has guest house, canteen, conference rooms, etc.; all necessary facilities for the successful accomplishment of the project. BAO has large experience in organization of many conferences, workshops and summer schools. The Local Organizing Committee of the workshop, consists of 10 members – mostly young researchers and students of BAO and some other Armenian research institutions, universities, as well as volunteers. The project will also contribute to promote IAU’s visibility in the region. An individual session of the workshop will be devoted to IAU OAD and SWCA ROAD activities. By the collaboration of the Armenian and Turkish astronomers (and all other countries) the workshop will promote peace and prosperity in the academic sphere.
|Multisensorial Astronomical Kit for Exploring the Universe (MAKE the Universe)||We will target disadvantaged contexts of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia and Nigeria. Translated versions will be ready for use in Latin America and most of the Mediterranean Area.||
The Universe is mainly perceived as a beautiful set of colorful objects; this is because visualization is still the main mean used for conveying astronomy in academic contexts, in schools and to the public. This can be misleading about the real study of the Universe, which is mostly about revealing signals out of background noise; numbers over a threshold, that could actually be converted into anything that can be perceived.