by Jessica Santascoy
Community Engagement Manager, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) 

Imagine you are a 10-year old female and you love looking at the sky. You want to learn more - what is the Sun made of, what is a spiral galaxy? You find information on YouTube, at the library, anywhere you can find it. You tell your teacher you want to learn more, but you notice the teacher ignores you. Boys get more attention when they talk about science! You feel sad, frustrated, and wonder if you should give up.

Girls across the world feel this frustration when they can’t nurture their love of science. In Nigeria, there are fewer science learning opportunities than in many other countries. Gender inequality, due to religious and communal customs, can have grave consequences; only 20% of women in northern Nigeria are literate.

That’s why Girls Astronomy Camp Nigeria is important-it directly involves girls in astronomy and inspires them to think about science careers.

Girls Astronomy Camp Nigeria

Olayinka Fagbemiro is the Astronomers Without Borders National Coordinator for Nigeria. She organizes astronomy camps that use space and astronomy to inspire girls and to increase their interest in science and technology. Olayinka and her team reach about 100 girls at each camp.

Activities include presentations on women in aerospace, constructing paper satellites, and lego building. The day ends with each participant getting a certificate.

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Participants at the Nigeria-AWB Girls Astronomy Camp Earned Certificates

What the girls were saying:

“I feel so excited and impacted, that I’m here to attend the very first of this program in Nasarawa State (Nigeria) and I hope and pray to have the very best of the knowledge in astronomy and space. Thank you.”

“Amazing…you can see how the Sun looks when wearing solar sunglasses.”

Now, imagine you’re that same 10 year old. You find out that you’ll be going to a Girls Astronomy Camp. Wouldn’t you feel excited and inspired?

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Seeing the Sun with safe solar viewing glasses sparks joy and curiosity

Donate to support AWB's programs

In addition to supporting AWB Nigeria as part of the worldwide AWB community, AWB provided five telescopes for the Girls Astronomy Camp. The camp was also supported by funding from the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development.

About Olayinka Abiodun Fagbemiro

Olayinka Abiodun Fagbemiro is a Nigerian Scientist. She has post graduate degrees in Technology Management, Basic Space and Atmospheric Science. She has spent the last 11 years carrying out Space and Astronomy Education Outreach activities to school kids with special interest in the girl-child, as well as rural kids across Nigeria. She is an Assistant Chief Scientific Officer with the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja, Nigeria and currently heads the Space Education Outreach Unit of the Agency. With extreme passion for impacting kids and stimulating their interest in astronomy, she goes to schools, teaching kids and teachers as well. She is the National Coordinator for Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) and Universe Awareness (UNAWE), in Nigeria, two international organizations which focus on inspiring kids through astronomy.

She has organized so many STEM workshops and conferences for students and science teachers across Nigeria. She has been involved in many advocacy programs for the girl-child in the Northern part of Nigeria as a STEM and girl-child Education advocate. She has been involved in many gender-based projects for the girl-child.

Olayinka has made several presentations on the various activities she carries out on Astronomy and STEM in Nigeria at so many International conferences, such as the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Communicating Astronomy with the Public (CAP) Conferences, the African Leadership Conference on Space Science and Technology (ALC), Coalition Of Wives Of Presidents And Vice President (COWAP) 2018 African Women Summit among many others.

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About Jessica Santascoy

Jessica is a NASA award-winning communications professional who specializes in engagement and outreach. She has a keen interest in gender, inclusion and international issues, and was part of a team of scholars funded by the National Science Foundation doing research on the El Paso-Juárez border. She was a fellow in the Smithsonian Latino Museum Studies Program. She’s a member of the Amateur Astronomers of New York. Jessica serves as the Community Engagement Manager at Astronomers Without Borders. jessicasantascoy 350 


If you have questions about this program, community activities, or are interested in becoming a National Coordinator, please email Jessica Santascoy at: [email protected]


Overview of 2018 Girls Astronomy Camp, Office of Astronomy for Development website, sourced 8/7/19.

Update-Astronomy Camps, Office of Astronomy for Development website, sourced 8/8/19.

For further reading

The Implications of Girl-Child Education to Nation Building in the 21st Century in Nigeria By Omede Andrew A. & Agahiu Grace Etumabo, via Global Journal of HUMAN-SOCIAL SCIENCE: G Linguistics & Education PDF, sourced 8/7/19.

Enhancing Girls’ Participation in Science in Nigeria
A Driver for National Development and Social Equality. Adefunke Ekine with Negar Ashtari Abay. via the Brookings Institute PDF, sourced 8/7/19.