Space and STEM Camps for IDP in Nigeria

Astronomy for Equity partners with groups across the world to build STEM in underserved communities. Here is a recent report from Nigeria, where volunteers are spreading astronomy in African refugee camps:

Astronomy Outreaches for Internally Displaced Children

AWB Nigeria launched the first Solar-Powered Astronomy Learning Hub for kids at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in 2019. The idea was to make Astronomy and by extension, STEM education, accessible to kids who are displaced from their original communities by the insurgency in some parts of Northern Nigeria.

The Learning Hub team is shown inside the Learning Hub with some of the IDP children. There are posters of astronomical objects on the walls behind them.
The team and some of the IDP children in the STEM Learning Hub.

The Hub consisted of computer systems and internet connectivity as well as some resources to teach Astronomy. Subsequently, the 2nd Project at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp was launched in 2021. It was another Solar Powered Astronomy Learning Hub for teaching STEM to IDP kids.

This project is very strategic for AWB Nigeria in the quest to popularize Astronomy and use it as a tool to create awareness in STEM among school kids. Also, it helps disadvantaged kids who have been affected by the Insurgency in the North Eastern Region of Nigeria. These projects were made possible with the support of partners from around the world. 

A shipping container with signs on the outside showing that it has been converted into a STEM center
The ISP Learning Hub created in a shipping container.

COVID-19 Intervention for Internally Displaced Children

The IDP Children Astronomy Outreach Project aims to use astronomy as a tool to counsel, heal and inspire children that have been displaced due to terrorism in Nigeria. This project has identified astronomy as a tool because it is one of the oldest natural sciences and for the fact that the children are used to being taught in an informal setting, understanding the universe can be passed across suitably to the children. Astronomy is more effective than other subjects that are based on a structured curriculum.

Outside the Learning Hub, a mother lifts her young child to the eyepiece of a telescope to view the Moon. There is another telescope in the background and other children waiting.
A mother lifts her child to the eyepiece of a telescope to observe the Moon as part of International Observe the Moon Night.

With the advent of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, AWB Nigeria sought to support the IDP camp in terms of sharing knowledge of the virus, building a hand wash station, distributing facemasks and sanitizers and also equipping the solar powered learning hub with a desktop computer and android tablets. Outreach volunteers hope to encourage the children with science education and emotional support.

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