About EAf-ROAD



The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the largest professional body of astronomers in the world, adopted a strategic plan in 2009 that aims to realize the global developmental benefits of astronomy. In order to implement this plan the IAU established the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD). The OAD exists as a global coordinating center for “astronomy-for-development” activities, tasked with establishing and strategically coordinating Regional Offices and Language Expertise Centers across the world. Currently there are ten OAD regional offices in Armenia, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand and Zambia and Netherlands.

East Africa Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (EAf-ROAD) is one of OAD offices in Eastern Africa hosted by Ethiopia. EAf-ROAD office was opened in Ethiopia in 2014 as an East Africa Regional node of OAD under agreement between IAU and Quadrilateral Parties in Ethiopia: Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS), Ministry of Education (MOE), Addis Ababa University (AAU) and Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).  Currently the agreement is amended and EAf-ROAD is hosted by the newly established Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI) and accountable to Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) with direct supervision of both ESSTI and MOST.

The main objectives of the office is to further the use of astronomy as a tool for development by mobilizing the human and financial resources necessary in order to realize the  scientific, technological and cultural benefits to society and implementing  the IAU’s strategic plan and missions of OAD.

Strategic Priorities of EA-ROAD

The strategic direction of the OAD and its regional offices is guided by the following priorities:

  1. Implementation of the IAU Strategic Plan: The regional office will implement the Strategic Plan (SP) which was set by IAU and under the guidance of OAD in realising the benefit of astronomy for development.
  2. Strategic advice and guidance: The regional office along with OAD, guided by the SP and a global view of development activities, provide strategic advice where needed to individuals and organisations involved in similar activities. They also collect evidence and best practice into a library that will be used to guide astronomy-for-development activities. The regional structures of OAD should be the “first port of call” for development activities using astronomy.
  3. Coordination and Facilitation: The regional office coordinates and facilitates regional activities. Such efforts do not imply necessarily carrying out activities on the ground but rather sourcing partners or volunteers and providing them with the contacts, assistance and guidance necessary for them to implement regional project, training’s, workshops , research collaboration  and exchange of expertise within and outside the region.
  4. Funding and Infrastructure: 
  5. The regional office along with help of OAD, regional member countries and partners seek to acquire or assist in the acquiring of funding and infrastructure for regional projects and training’s.
  6. Implementation of projects: 
  7. There may be specific developmental projects which are managed and administered by regional offices and or by the OAD, especially if there is a need to test, evaluate and develop best practice around a particular idea. The regional office will strive to implement such projects.

Tasks of EA-ROAD

  1. Fostering the goals of the IAU Strategic Plan in the East African Region
  2. Regional management, coordination and evaluation of IAU capacity- building programs,   including   recruiting   and   mobilizing   volunteers
  3. Liaison  with  OAD  and  the  three  sector  Task  Forces  (Universities  and  Research;  Children  and  Schools;  and  Public  Outreach)  in  planning  and  implementing  relevant  programs  within  the  region  in  each  of  these  sectors
  4. Provision   of   regional   support   where   relevant   for   IAU-endorsed activities in the development, education, and outreach
  5. Coordination  of  Contacts  between  the  IAU  and  National  Authorities  in  the region.
  6. Provision of  advice,  guidance  and  information  for    scientists,  and  technologist of the field  in all countries in the East African Region about  IAU programs
  7. Proactive initiation and coordination about fund-raising activities for regional development activities
  8. Reporting   regularly   to   OAD,   and   IAU   executive   Committee   where required on activities of the regional node
  9. Provision and dissemination of information, resources and current affairs of the region continuously via full-fledged website.