AstroTribe is a science engagement and economic development project that provides astronomical knowledge and skills to tribal students, and trains them as astronomy guides, enabling them to earn income without interfering with their academic schedule. The project has resulted in the successful training of 16 astroguides, conducted 5 stargazing events that raised 30000 INR in revenue that was distributed amongst the tribal students as their first income, onboarded 12 international mentors for continuous guidance for the students, and two resorts for astrotourism events. The project’s long-term goal is to create a self-sustaining network of astrotourism in the region. The project’s elements could be replicated in other areas with similar social and economic challenges, making it a scalable model for sustainable development.
To scale the project on a global level, an online networking platform is being developed to create a global network of AstroGuides, experts in the field, resorts interested in Astrotourism as well as amateur astronomers and whoever is interested in being part of the “Astro-Tribe”. The second phase of the project is funded by OAD in 2023, targeting students in India and Brazil.
a. Pre-Training test:
10 schools across the state of Maharashtra were contacted via email to participate in the project of which 3 responded positively. Two out of these schools conducted the tests provided to them by us and we received responses from 60 students.
b. Level 1: 2 training sessions
d. Level 2: 4 training sessions
H. AstroGuide independent stargazing events
Component 1: Online Guide Training Module (Level 1)
Basic scientific concepts in astronomy taught through in-person training sessions with presentations and e-learning material.
Production of consolidated & systematically organized online Astronomy Guide Training Courses
Stargazing skills in-person training sessions
Ability to recognise various objects in the sky.
Understanding of communication skills required for effective delivery as Astronomy Guide with astronomical inputs
Component 2: Online Networking Platform
Selection of first 44 (Level 1) & 16 (Level 2) trained Astronomy Guides
Identification of 28 mentors & 3 organisers
Mutual interaction & networking resulting in continuous capacity building of Tribal Astronomy Guides through Mentors & providing them earning opportunities by the organisers in the vicinity
Creation of an online networking platform, accessing three groups of identified stakeholders viz. Astronomy Guides, Mentors & Organisers
- Learning outcomes were measured through Before- After Tests suitably devised by respective experts in view of qualitative & quantitative measurement.
- Brain Maps: The students were asked to write all the words they know about astronomy before the training began. After completion of the training, they were asked to do the same activity which we refer to as a “Brain Map”. It is clear through the data of this ‘before’ and ‘after’ activity, that the students gained vocabulary during the training.
- Ratings on practical skills by peers and mentors
- Financial earnings by Astronomy Guides generated through the platform by completing successful online sessions: Rs. 17000/-
- Mentor onboarding: 28 mentors from 14 countries from 12 different fields related to astronomy onboarded.
The AstroGuides organised public stargazing events in Pune when the audience was requested to give feedback, we received 93 responses seen below in the chart.