Shaw-IAU Workshop Summary

MMAO Director Elineema Nassari at the South African Astronomical Observatory

Elineema Nassari, Director at MMAO, was awarded travel, lodging, and attendance of the African regional Shaw-IAU meeting hosted by the International Astronomers Union Office of Astronomy for Development on the campus of the South Africa Astronomical Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop was from November 3-5, 2023.

Elineema writes, “This was a unique opportunity to share astronomical knowledge with a variety of teachers who came from so many countries, including Botswana. Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya and South I mentioned above.

“We participated in many presentations with both in-person and virtual speakers. Teachers asked many questions, helping all of us to build an increased capacity for teaching astronomy in our respective schools. I discovered that some countries have included Astronomy in their curriculum, making it a part of the total education in their school systems. This is not yet the case in Tanzania. We have much to do to advise the government, to include Astronomy in the [national] curriculum. Upon return from South Africa to Tanzania, I immediately implemented the knowledge gained in the workshop with my fellow teachers and students as well.

Moreover, I was given an opportunity to remain at SAAO for one week more, to learn how to run an organization and observatory as well. I met with IAU-OAD and OAE staff from the Office of Astronomy for Development where I learned a great deal. Also, we discussed the development of an astro-tourism program at MMAO.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit Sutherland where massive telescopes survey the Southern Hemisphere. This was my first time to see such kind of big telescope. Imagine, the largest I had used was 12 inches. And now I have spent time observing in a telescope that is more that three building stories tall! I spent nights with astronomers from, SALT, SAAO and from Japan too. This time is for me an unforgettable history.

Also, I visited the science center at Cape Town whereby I learned a very crucial thing—that MMAO can establish a science center [to engage] young children in experiential education, that is, learning by doing small experiments. This beginning experience with science, while they are still young, [initiates] the spirit of enjoying and engaging science for a lifetime.

Now I have seeds in my hands to plant in Tanzanian, with teachers and students ready to grow.

Good things are coming!