2019 Girls Astronomy Camp Nassarawa

In the month of June, AWBNigeria organized a girls’ astronomy camp in Lumen Christi Basic Science School in Nassarawa state. The participants were selected from girls schools around Nassarawa state.

AWBNigeria continues to push STEM encouragement for girls and that drive was no different in this camp. The National Coordinator of AWBNigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro, gave an introductory speech to the participants highlighting AWB’s activities and the benefits of STEM Education. Engr. Yewande Adeyeye followed up with a presentation on the roles that women play in STEM and Space science.

The participants were then engaged with a flurry of science activities like building a model of the solar system, coupling galileoscopes, building satellite models, learning how to use rotors and motors and others.

There was also a science quiz competition that engaged 2 participants from each school. The winners received prices and other participants received certificates.

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IAU President visits…

On Friday, May 24, 2019, the IAU president, Ewine van Dishoeck came on a working visit to the West African Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (WA-ROAD). She was hosted at the National Space Research & Development Agency, Obasanjo Space Center, Abuja, Nigeria.

Her first engagement was a closed door session with the management of the National Space Research & Development Agency and WA-ROAD. Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria organized a Space Science & Astronomy quiz for about 200 high school students, who were anticipating the chance to see the IAU president. After the meeting, she made a presentation that denoted,’We are all world citizens under the same beautiful sky,’ to a hall full of high school students, who eagerly anticipated the opportunity to listen to her. She had a barrage of questions from the students afterwards, and she gracefully answered every single question presented to her. After the question & answer session, she presented prizes to the top 10 students in the quiz competition.

The IAU president proceeded to the National Space Museum, where she was taken on a tour of the facility by the National Coordinator of AWBNigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro, and she inspected the WA-ROAD and AWBNigeria offices.

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2019 Girls Astronomy Camp Lokoja

In pursuit of sustainable development in Nigeria with the use of astronomy, Astronomers Without Borders Nigeria organized the 2019 Girls Astronomy camp in Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria, with the aim of encouraging young school girls to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education in School. The two sustainable focus growth problems this camp aimed to make contributions are inequality and quality education. This event held on  May 10, 2019 at Salem University campus in Lokoja. This program catered to 200 secondary school girls from different schools within Kogi state.

In attendance was the Commissioner for Education , Kogi State, Mrs. Rosemary Ojochenemi Osikoya; the Director of the Center for Atmospheric Research, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu; the Vice-Chancellor, Salem University, Prof. Dorcas Oluwade and other top government officials.

Mrs. Osikoya gave a motivational speech to encourage the girls to dream. She iterated that the girls have adequate potential and intellectual ability to excel in STEM but lack equipment, infrastructure, manpower amongst others. Prof. Oluwade commended the organisers of the program, saying it would help the girls develop an interest in STEM.

Engr. Yewande & Engr. Ekubo made presentations on Women in Aerospace and AWB Nigeria and its activities respectively. The presentation aimed at inspiring the girls to study STEM and the amazing possibilities that can come from it. They learnt about women’s contributions to the space race and science & technology. The girls responded with a lot of questions which were answered. They received a brief about the sun and used solar glasses to look at the sun.

Other activities for the camp included coupling of galileoscopes; constructing paper satellites; Universe in a box games; Tinkering with rotors and markers; and building lego structures. After all the activities, certificates were awarded to the participants and their school teachers.

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2018 Girls Astronomers Camp

This event held on 28 April 2018 at Obasanjo Space Center Abuja. This event was planned and organized by Astronomers Without Borders. 2018 Girls Astronomers Camp served as a maiden camp for young girls to learn about Astronomy in Nigeria. The camp program was packed with Fun and Educative activities.

The Girls camp is an OAD/IAU (Office of Astronomy for Development)/(International Astronomical Union) initiative, funded and supported by Astronomers Without Borders International (AWB), Universe Awareness (UNAWE), VIXEN Co. Ltd, National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), Milan, Italy, National Space Research & Development Agency (NASRDA). The camp aims to address the challenge of gender lopsidedness in the school enrollment focusing on the female gender in other to bridge the gap that exists between male and female children enrollment particularly across the northern part of Nigeria. Also, to encourage and motivate the girl-child in STEM education. We aim to reach thousands of school girls as we carry out these Astronomy camps in the different states across Nigeria.

The camp started by 12pm on 28 April 2018 with Registration and Red Carpet/interview sessions with the girls and accompanying guests. The National Coordinator of AWB Nigeria, Mrs. Olayinka Fagbemiro delivered a Welcome/Introductory address afterwards. Dr. Francis Chizea who represented the Director General of NASRDA gave a remark highlighting the importance of the event. The event moved on in earnest with Career Talk, Engr. Yewande Adeyeye spoke on the ‘History of Women in Space Science & Technology.’ Tea Break & Solar Glasses session followed afterwards. The Girls were excited that they could look at the Sun without getting hurt. The Editorial Chairman of ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, gave the girls a moral charge with his speech centered on the subject of ‘Cheating- Exam Malpractices.’ The next agenda of the camp was a STEM Quiz which comprised of 20 objective questions spread across Astronomy, Mathematics, Science and Physics. The top 3 candidates were:

  1. Kabir Ummulkhair Hassan (Airforce Girls Comprehensive School Abuja)- 1st Position
  2. Aki Jessica (Community Secondary School Asokoro)- 2nd Position
  3. Firdaus Audu (Voyage International School), Johnson Damilola (GSS Gwagwalada), Mbu Rosaparks (Blooms Academy)- 3rd Position

After the Quiz, the girls had lunch and Pep talk while eating. The Chairperson of e-Worldwide Limited, Dr. Salma Abbasi delivered the talk. She is a Technologist, Philanthropist and Social activist with over 30 years experience working in the field of technology and business, holding a variety of senior Executive positions in Fortune 500 companies. The subject of her talk was the importance of STEM. She encouraged the girls to develop interest in STEM courses and emphasized on the importance of their involvement in Science & Technology.

Hands on Activities followed the Pep Talk. There was a variety of activities in this session. The girls were put into different group to build a prototype of a Communication Satellite, Tinkering (using DC motors and Markers), Universe in a Box, Coupling a Galileoscope, Solar system modelling and the youngest girls made Paper Satellites. The session was very engaging as the Girls learnt something interesting.

Afterwards, the girls watched a movie called ‘Hidden Figures’ which depicted Girls involvement in STEM and Astronomy. Star gazing session & Barbecue ended the activities for the day. They had the opportunity to look at Venus and the Moon as they were the brightest on our horizon.

We at AWBNigeria would like to use this opportunity to thank all our Sponsors and Contributors for making this dream a reality. We remain committed to spreading Astronomy throughout Nigeria. One People, One Sky.

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