FM20.3.10 — Southern Africa Regional Office of Astronomy for Development: A New Hub for Astronomy for Development

Date & Time

Aug 14th at 11:20 AM until 11:25 AM

Track

Presentations 

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Author(s): Moola Siseho Mutondo1

Institution(s): 1. Copperbelt University

A new Astronomy for Development hub needs innovative tools and programs. SAROAD is developing exciting tools integrating Raspberry Pi® technology to bring cost-effective astronomy content to learning centres. SAROAD would also like to report achievements in realising the IAU's strategic plan. In order to manage, evaluate and coordinate regional IAU capacity building programmes, including the recruitment and mobilisation of volunteers, SAROAD has built an intranet that is accessible to regional members upon request. Using this resource, regional members can see and participate in regional activities. This resource also forms the foundation for closer collaboration between SAROAD member countries. SAROAD has commenced with projects in the three Task Force areas of Universities and Research, Children and Schools and Public Outreach. Under the three Task Force areas, a total of seven projects have commenced in Zambia. A further two projects involve the collaboration of Zambia and other regional member countries in order to foster engagement with important regional astronomy facilities (e.g. SKA). SAROAD has identified the IAU’s International Year of Light and a starting point for offering regional support for IAU-endorsed global activities. SAROAD has set up a hub dedicated to regional events and activities about the International Year of Light. SAROAD has a database of regional authorities to enable contact with the region's decision makers and experts. SAROAD will hold an annual event which brings forum for astronomy for development. The creation of the database and the SAROAD Road show is a first step towards this goal. The SAROAD website has helped to advertise upcoming events for astronomy development and education; it is used to provide advice, guidance and information for astronomers in all countries in the Southern Africa. Fundraising is the primary goal for SAROAD in 2015 towards financial self-sufficiency by 2020. We report on the methods that work best for us and the outcomes. We also report on our efforts to promote collaboration between SAROAD and other ROADS.