IICBA Co-organizes Africa Science Week in Ethiopia

From 14 to 20 December 2019, IICBA co-organized Africa Science Week (ASW) in Ethiopia with Next Einstein Forum (NEF). Dr. Binyam Sisay Mendisu, IICBA Programme Officer, was the NEF Ambassador to Ethiopia from 2017 to 2019. The first session of ASW took place in December 2018 and focused on the role of women in science and promoted gender-sensitive Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) education. It included activities to advocate and encourage females to pursue careers in science and created a platform to connect successful Ethiopian scientists with students from secondary schools and Jinka University in order to share professional experiences and motivate youths in Ethiopia.  

In 2019, ASW in Ethiopia continued to promote gender-responsive STEAM education in Ethiopia and expanded influence to more schools, students and teachers. Four main activities took place throughout the week:

    Joint visit with Astrobus Ethiopia, a mobile science-art-innovation outreach program, to Mekele, which is in the northern part of Ethiopia, to inspire primary, secondary and university students to engage in STEAM fields and promote gender-responsive pedagogy;

    Two-day training on Gender Responsive Pedagogy (GRP) for STEAM Teachers in Addis Ababa;

    Science exhibition and experiment for teachers and students;

    Science Cocktail

On 14 December 2019, IICBA joined Astrobus Ethiopia for a science fair in Mekele, Ethiopia to motivate students to engage in the study of science subjects. The event was supported by NEF, Mekele University, Ethiopian Space Science Society and the Tigray Bureau of Science and Technology and involved over 200 students from six primary and secondary schools and Mekele University. IICBA introduced students to ASW and shared IICBA’s resources on STEAM education and GRP. 

From 19 to 20 December 2019, a training of teachers on GRP for STEAM teachers was organized in Addis Ababa for 35 teachers from 9 primary and secondary schools in Addis Ababa. The event started with opening remarks given by Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of UNESCO IICBA and Mr. Muluneh T/Birhan from the Addis Ababa Education Bureau. Then, Dr. Sisay moderated the opening session and officially opened the event. Ms. Mignot Getachew and Mr. Endalkachew Ademasu, GRP experts from Kotebe Metropolitan University, facilitated the training. 

The training aimed to equip STEAM teachers with GRP knowledge and practical skills. It first introduced the background and concepts of gender and GRP and then focused on three aspects of teaching– gender-responsive lesson planning, teaching materials and language use in classrooms. All participants received a certificate during the closing ceremony of the training.

In the afternoon on the same day, 24 students from the 9 schools where teachers from the training teach joined the Science Exhibition and Experiment. STEAM teachers with students displayed their science projects and then collaboratively completed a science experiment, an ‘Egg Drop Challenge’ where groups of students designed protective shields to prevent an egg from breaking as a study of velocity and gravity.

Following this, there was a science cocktail with a panel discussion on the STEAM field and involvement of early-career scientists and students moderated by Dr. Sisay. Three panelists, Dr. Yabebal Fantaye, Cosmologist and Data Scientist, and Road and Activity Manager of Astrobus Ethiopia; Dr. Maryamawit Yonathan, Pharmacist, Director of Staff Affairs, Quality Assurance and Academic Standards at College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University and Chair of Ethiopian Young Academy of Sciences; and Dr. Haregewoin Fantahun, Senior Advisor to the Minister on Academic Capacity Building, Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Ethiopia shared their personal experiences in the field of STEAM and how they involve young people in their current work as well as the crucial role of women in science. Both teachers and students discussed the challenges and opportunities of scientists in the country and throughout Africa with panelists.