Ethiopia Hosts 3rd Annual GLOBE Africa Regional Meeting and Teacher Training Workshop
The 3rd Annual Meeting of the GLOBE Africa Consortium took place on 20 -21 February 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr. Fuad Ibrahim, the Education State Minister, delivered the opening address on behalf of Ethiopia's National Minister of Education, H.E. Dr. Adhanom. H.E. Dr. Abera Deressa, State Minister of MoARD and chairman of the climate change forum, delivered the Keynote address for the meeting followed by Mr. Michael McClellan, Public Affairs Counselor of the U.S. Embassy. The Annual Meeting was attended by representatives of 11 African countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda, and by Dr. Teresa Kennedy, Deputy Director of GLOBE, representing the GLOBE Program Office at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.
High on the list of topics for discussion was regional sustainability. Mr. Patrick Jantjies, Regional Manager, from AVK Company of Southern Africa, presented his plan for establishing a regional business forum to sustain GLOBE activities in Africa. Other topics included:
Funding: the countries presenting their reports gave an indication of the in-country financial and in-kind support they currently receive from their governments. It was also noted that with the regionalization process, the countries will take more responsibility for supporting activities and initiatives previously done by the GPO. Countries indicated their attempts to support themselves to attend the Annual meeting in Calgary. This included approaching the Canadian Mission or embassy in their countries. The role of the Regional Office was also discussed and countries understand that this is a collaborative effort to sustain the program on the continent. Funding opportunities will be identified and pursued where possible, and in-country opportunities will be pursued by the Country Coordinator and support team.
Alignment and Integration of GLOBE protocols and research activities into National Curricula: It was decided that the country coordinators and their support team will lead this initiative as they know best what is happening in their educational systems. Country Coordinators agreed that the GLOBE materials can be integrated and used to teach any subject matter in schools. These initiatives will be supported by the Regional Office.
Alumni: It was agreed that the building of a strong Alumni component is vital to the growth of the program in the various countries. Alumni will be identified and recruited and Cameroon shared their strategies and plans of a Regional Youth Camp as incentive, for 2009 with the rest of the participants.
Parent Council: Keith Young, GPC Coordinator, offered to assist with initiatives and all countries are in agreement that this should be established. Country Coordinators will lead this initiative.
Format of country reports: It was noted that country reports should only include activities that happen from one AGM to the next and that unnecessary history and background information should be omitted. It was also noted that a request was sent out to all the countries to complete commitment forms and a questionnaire, and to prepare a collage of activities to be displayed during the annual meeting, with little to no response. The issue of response time on mails was also addressed.
Africa contribution to the Climate Research Campaign: This topic was discussed in great length and people are comfortable with Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Climate. To that end, the Africa Regional Office is currently, in collaboration with Mary Kavaria, Country Coordinator of Tanzania, and Leonard Mashorache, Director of Education in Tanzania, to work with the Seasons and Biomes ESSP Team on a collaborative workshop scheduled for the end September 2009 that will include a research summit on Kilimanjaro. More information will be made available soon.
Following the Annual Meeting, a Teacher Training Workshop was held at nearby Addis Ababa University. The workshop, held from 23 – 27 February, was attended by 32 teachers from 16 local schools, science faculty from the university and academic staff from the Horn of Africa Project. The training team consisted of Mark Brettenny (Landcover) George Nditafon (Hydrology) and Rogeline Brettenny (Atmosphere / Phenology) who provided instruction in GLOBE protocols. The GLOBE Season and Biomes ESSP was of particular interest as most of the participating teachers identified invasive alien plants (green deserts) as a huge challenge to their communities. The workshop also concentrated on implementation strategies, project identification and Africa Region participation in the GLOBE Student Research Campaign on Climate. At the end of the workshop the teachers presented their plans to address the challenges that face them and outlined ways move forward. From the workshop evaluation and individual reports it became clear that the newly-trained Ethiopian teachers are extremely enthusiastic and looking forward to implementing GLOBE in their schools and communities. Many of them are now already collecting data on cloud patterns and soil temperatures with their students for use in future student research. The U.S. Embassy is currently helping to facilitate additional workshops and meetings.
GLOBE Africa would like to extend special acknowledgement to the country coordinator of Ethiopia, Dr. Mekuria Argaw and his assistants, Hailu, Rhoda and Dinka. Also, special thanks go to Mr. Mark Brettenney, GIAC representative and director of the GLOBE Africa Regional Office, for his assistance in planning all aspects of the event as well as to all the teachers, principals and supporting agencies that took the time to attend and participate in this very special workshop for Ethiopia and for their genuine hospitality and friendship.