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Five More Winners of the Telescope Competition 2017
4 December 2017

We hereby announce five more lucky winners for the Win Your Own Telescope Competition 2017! Due to additional donations, five more telescopes could be produced. This means five more excellent entries were selected for winning a telescope to be used in educational outreach activities for underprivileged children.

In the last update of the telescope contest, we wrote:

For those who have participated in the competition but didn’t win, we have been told that “great things are planned for ‘Stars Shine…’.”

Soon afterwards, Jeanpierre Grootaerd told Universe Awareness that five additional telescopes were made available after fundraisers at the 2017 event and the 2017 event!

Since the competition received so many great submissions, we were able to select five more excellent entries that best described how and where the telescopes will be used to inspire underserved children with astronomy. Activities have been given priority that take gender into account and pay special attention to the inclusion of girls in astronomy.

These are the generous donors of the five additional telescopes:

  • One telescope has been donated by Professor Cornelis (Kees) de Jager

  • One telescope has been donated by Frederik Verschelden

  • One telescope has been donated by Dirk van Den Branden

  • One telescope has been donated by AstroDag.nl 2017

  • One telescope has been donated by Spectroscopiedag 2017

The telescope competition has been made possible by the Belgian initiative and in collaboration with Universe Awareness. These projects are dedicated to inspiring disadvantaged children with science and astronomy. The telescopes have been built by of the Public Observatory Armand Pien.

Here at Universe Awareness, we are very thankful to see such great contributions, both from the donors of the telescopes and from the participants of the competition. Thank you!

Winners will be sent a telescope (in several packages) with a tracking number. Information about the educational value of the telescope will be included. The recipient of the telescope will be responsible for any local expenses (like customs taxes). It is not possible to resend the telescope, so accurate address and contact phone number should be provided. Results of the competition are final and not open for discussion.

The Winning Entries

These are the five extra lucky winners and highlights of their submissions (in no particular order):

André Freitas from São Tomé and Príncipe

André is a teacher from the small island state São Tomé and Príncipe, which is far away from research centres. School have little access to innovation and great difficulties in obtaining educational materials. “A simple telescope would allow for the first time to make observations in most, if not all, schools in São Tomé. It would attract the attention of students and science professors, and reach thousands.”

The proposed activities would demystify the idea that only boys can carry out activities of a scientific nature. “Light pollution is not a problem on our island, but it’s a very traditional environment and gender equality needs to be addressed.”


Olayinka Fagbemiro from Nigeria

This National Coordinator of UNAWE Nigeria made a passionate case for promoting science for girls. In the North of Nigeria, school enrollment school is already low, but it’s even three times lower for girls. “Education of girls in the northern cluster has always been a thorny and unresolved issue,” says Olayinka.

The astronomy outreach activities would be carried out in over 50 rural communities as a tool to promote the subject among the school age girls. “In turn, they would play the role of astronomy ambassadors in their communities. That would increase the school enrollment of girls and re-enrollment of girls that have already dropped out."


Kristine Jane Atienza from the Philippines

Kristine is a volunteer in the Philippines, a country in Southeast Asia where very few people have used a telescope. She plans for a travelling telescope project: “Many of the provinces in the Philippines have not been visited by any astronomy outreach program. This project aims to break that status quo by bringing the telescope in the hands of communities.”

The telescope would travel from community to community, visiting schools and interested groups. Each group will instruct the next, always accurately reporting the use, location and state of the telescope. The project reports will be shared on social media account of UNAWE PH. “I hope to reach the farthest community in the Philippines and to also inspire communities to have their own organized astronomy groups."


Yumna Majeed from Pakistan

Yumna is a student from Pakistan and a UNAWE Ambassador. She would like to create a safe space for girls in her local area, who would like to learn more about the stars.

“There are few females in the astronomy community here and attending night sky observations makes girls uncomfortable. That's why I always wanted to make an environment where girls can easily visit and enjoy star parties.”

With the aid of a telescope, this UNAWE Ambassador will be an even better role model for young and old: “There are many kids here that don't go to school, but they should still be able to see the stars. I believe everyone has the right to enjoy the art of nature.”

 

Abdoulkarim Aliou from Mali

"We plan to popularize the practice of astronomy in Mali's education system, so we ask to coordinate the UNAWE program here for this purpose.” Abdoulkarim combined his contest entry with an application for National Coordinator, which would make Mali the newest member country of Universe Awareness.

“Having a telescope will be the opportunity to introduce astronomy to the public institutions. There is no tradition of astronomy here, so there is a lack of astronomy material in all schools and clubs! This telescope would be an invaluable educational tool for our outreach activities in primary schools, colleges and high schools.”

UNAWE Mali would be coordinated from the University of Bamako, where an astronomy club will be started for young students and science teachers. Using astronomy caravans in partnership with the school authorities, they will do activities in schools in Bamako and the interior of the country.


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