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Fourteen Countries Meet in Africa to Discuss GLOBE Student Research Achievements

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Antananarivo, Madagascar served as the location of the 7th GLOBE Africa Regional Meeting on 26-27 February 2012. Madagascar has led several important GLOBE research initiatives since joining the program on 11 June 1997, including demonstrating the value of student data monitoring and research activities occurring at UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as initiating the GLOBE Malaria Protocol that was further developed by the Seasons and Biomes ESSP and implemented in GLOBE countries located in Africa, Asia+Pacific, Latin America+Caribbean and North American regions.

Group of people in front of GLOBE sign

The primary objective of the 7th Annual Regional Meeting was to bring together GLOBE leaders from the 22 GLOBE countries in Africa to discuss important issues related to the implementation of GLOBE in their countries and to work towards greater participation, cooperation, collaboration, and innovation to strengthen the GLOBE Program throughout the Africa Region. Outcomes of the meeting included strategic plans to enhance cooperation, collaboration and greater participation of all countries throughout the Africa region, including the formation of innovative ideas and plans to create more regional-wide collaborative projects to increase participation by schools and communities and lead to meaningful contribution amongst the private sector. Fourteen countries from the region attended the regional meeting and training event including Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The official opening of the meeting was led by Mr. Pascal Rabetahiana, Secretary General from the Ministry of National Education in Madagascar, stating "strong cooperation must be developed between all partner countries of GLOBE in Africa so that the program will continue to grow stronger each year and to ensure it lasts the longest possible time period." All country coordinators agreed unanimously to accept this challenge. "I will certainly depend on the successful experiences discussed here and remain hopeful for continued positive relationships between all countries in our region to heighten student research opportunities through GLOBE," stated Rev. Emmanuel Kingsley Dadebo, GLOBE Country Coordinator for Ghana.

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Mr. Paul Randrianarisoa, GLOBE Madagascar country coordinator and incoming Chair of the GLOBE Africa Consortium, conducted a Malagasy GLOBE National Teacher Training event in 2011 in preparation for the regional meeting. "Several country coordinators, GLOBE Alumni from schools in Madagascar and the representatives from the GLOBE Africa Regional Help Desk Office helped me to establish a strong foundation last year which has enabled this event to occur. Our alumni are currently conducting pedagogical research that has the potential to positively drive the national direction of the curriculum. In addition, collaboration with the Vocational Institute for Pre-service teachers in Madagascar constitutes an alternate solution to reduce the costs of the further extension of GLOBE activities since we can raise the number of GLOBE teachers without encountering problems funding training opportunities."

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During the meeting, Mr. Mark Brettenny, outgoing Chair of the GLOBE Africa Consortium and current GLOBE International Advisory Committee (GIAC) representative for the region, facilitated discussion of all agenda items. Maintaining long-term activities in GLOBE schools was discussed in depth. All agreed that it is extremely important to involve more than one teacher in each school and to instill the idea and understanding that once a teacher is trained in GLOBE that they are still a GLOBE Teacher when they move to another school and can begin again immediately conducting GLOBE activities with their new students.

Facilitating interdisciplinary groups of teachers in each school ensures that the program can carry on with little disruption to research activities in progress if teachers are transferred or retire. Even schools with little to no equipment can begin GLOBE right away. "GLOBE can be implemented in very simple ways beginning from the first moment teachers enter the classroom. For example, teachers can begin preparing for GLOBE implementation with their students by initiating discussions and background research projects based on the unique questions posed by their students," stated GLOBE Master Trainer Rogeline Brettenny. Dr. Teresa Kennedy, Director of the International Division of the GLOBE Program Office further explained, "An important step after student research questions are formed is to identify which GLOBE protocols can be used to help provide insight and answers to students' questions. Some GLOBE equipment can be built by the students themselves, such as densiometers, clinometers, transparency tubes, and instrument shelters. Student learning then continues through gathering their own data and continual analyses of their data, placing high importance on ensuring schools record their measurements to the GLOBE international database." Ethiopia Assistant Country Coordinator Mr. Anteneh Kebede Habtesellassie believes that "allowing students to build their own equipment encouraging recycling, gives students a feeling of ownership and allows more students to actively participate in GLOBE." Implementing GLOBE through cross-curricular models was also reported by all to be one of the most successful models across the region as students in all subject areas can become involved. According to Nigeria Country Coordinator Mr. Korie Eberechukwu Ernest, "GLOBE's strength is promoting students to select specific projects that are aimed at transforming the theoretical content of students' subjects into practice and enhancing their personal environmental awareness."

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Ongoing data analyses and assisting students to actively document their research projects through report writing often times builds stronger student-teacher-scientist collaborations in the country has shown to produce positive community awareness of the importance of GLOBE. Efforts to participate in the GLOBE Student Climate Research Campaign have been a priority of the region. "Engaging youth to understand climate is a priority of the GLOBE Program Office and we are hopeful that more students and their teachers in Africa will join in the second phase of the Campaign," stated Dr. Donna Charlevoix, Director of the GLOBE Science and Education Division. GLOBE Scientists are posting weekly blogs about international climate issues and schools are encouraged to follow these blogs and post their comments, as well as follow the SCRC Climate Fact of the Day through GLOBE's social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

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According to South Africa GLOBE Government Point of Contact and Country Coordinator Ms. Mokgadi Madiga, "GLOBE equips our learners with research capabilities and has raised awareness regarding preservation and protection of the environment." Strong GLOBE Programs throughout Africa involve the community, both government and non-government entities, as well as volunteer organizations. Namibia Assistant Country Coordinator Maria Tharacky Namupala explained, "GLOBE helps San communities assert their basic human rights; it leads regional educational initiatives that improve access to formal education; coordinates activities that protect and promote San culture and heritage, including intellectual property rights and promoting language development through literacy programs using GLOBE materials in Namibian mother tongues." Mr. Lawrence Kambiwoa, GLOBE Cameroon Country Coordinator added, "the U.S. Peace Corps has helped us to continually implement GLOBE activities throughout the country, in both English, and in French."

Building capacity to train and implement GLOBE requires both strategic and creative initiatives. Mme. Ngosse Fall Bousso, GLOBE Country Coordinator in Senegal, began her involvement with the program as a GLOBE Teacher of Life Science. Due to her exemplary GLOBE activities, she was promoted to her current position as National Pedagogical Inspector for Life Sciences where she works for the Ministry of Education and is charged with the oversight of curriculum development of Life Sciences and GLOBE implementation throughout the country. She stressed the importance of innovatively seeking ways to augment government funding of the program, stating "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies (GIZ) is a program that funds the publication of a newsletter for all GLOBE teachers throughout the country, ensuring that communication about GLOBE activities, as well as the impact GLOBE has on student achievement in Senegal, are known and understood by all. In addition, she coordinates a national GLOBE Club that raises funds to cover the costs of student transportation to study sites.

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Another successful strategy aimed to promote long-term GLOBE sustainability at the primary and secondary level was achieved through successful integration and cooperation between ministries with institutions of higher education. Rwanda Country Coordinator Dr. Celestin Ntivuguruzwa stated, "Integrating GLOBE into national initiatives helps to bring relevance and accountability." He is currently working to align GLOBE to Rwanda's Vision 2020 Goals which assist teachers to incorporate GLOBE within each school's unique curriculum. Mr. Patrick S. Sempala, Uganda GLOBE Country Coordinator and Coordinator of Environment Education in the Ministry of Environmental Science, reiterated the point that inclusion of GLOBE in teacher education programs is best done in a manner that places a strong focus on national educational goals. He stated, "Integrating GLOBE into the national curriculum is important and this can be achieved through teacher training programs that facilitate university students and professors working together with teachers in the schools." Kenya Assistant Country Coordinator Peter Rugano Nthiga added, "Reigniting activities in existing GLOBE schools is a priority for us and we are exploring opportunities for local partnerships, through the university to the community in order to provide more support our schools." Ensuring schools have access to GLOBE materials in French is another important factor related to successful implementation. Mali Assistant Country Coordinator Mr. Adama Konate thanked the GLOBE Regional Help Desk Office for their work to translate many GLOBE materials and for the translation of many important communications across the region.

Due to the importance that the region places on the development of regional student projects and activities that bring students together nationally, regionally, and internationally, many highlights from the 2011 Mt. Kilimanjaro Xpedition, as well as student opportunities that have occurred as a result of the strong partnership that has been established with the South African Weather Service, were discussed in depth. Broadening participation in the 2012 Jabulani Games in Paarl, South Africa, wasdeemed a priority for future fundraising efforts.

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GLOBE Regional Alumni representative, Mr. Ylliass Lawani from Benin, provided statistics about the upward growth of the GLOBE Alumni Organization in Africa, citing over 70 alumni who have formally registered in the Alumni Database. Currently alumni in the region represent 8 countries including Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. "We are hopeful that alumni from all countries in the Africa region will join our network in 2012," stated Mr. Ylliass, who currently works as an assistant to the Minister of Education, and also conducts a weekly radio program called "Ciel-Mer et Terre" to raise awareness of GLOBE in Benin.

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Joining the meeting via Skype, Mr. Tamsu Fogue Marcelin, former regional alumni representative for Africa from Cameroon, "we need to continue participation and collaboration of alumni in local events. Even though I am presently stationed in Morocco I pledged to stay involved and even assisted the new alumni representative for the Near East+North Africa region who is from Egypt to begin organizing their regional activities. I am currently preparing a document that I hope will help improve the local implementation of GLOBE here in Morocco. This implementation plan will be translated into many languages and I hope it can help GLOBE around the world." Morady Kanoso Fabriolah, Alumni from Madagascar, provided an impressive report about his activities to teach research report writing through GLOBE. Overall, the common message of alumni throughout Africa was shown through the demonstrated assistance to the country coordinators in their countries. This dedication has facilitated efforts in Madagascar and other countries in the Africa region.

Conseiller à la Communication et aux Affaires Culturelles from the U.S. Embassy Madagascar, Mr. Brett Bruen, congratulated the hard work of the GLOBE Malagasy team stating, "we would like our traveling exhibit that tours the country to contain GLOBE materials and include a display of local student work." Efforts are currently underway to include GLOBE in this effort and the GLOBE Teachers Guide in both English and French, as well as Elementary GLOBE book series in both languages, have been included in the U.S. Embassy library and traveling exhibit.

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The regional meeting concluded with outgoing chair of GLOBE in Africa, Mr. Mark Brettenny, transferring his charge to Mr. Paul Randrianarisoa, who will serve as the chair of the region through 2014. While only spanning a two day period, the outcome of the event was notable, with goals of improved communication, implementation and capacity building of trainers and Master Trainers throughout the region.

Immediately following the regional meeting, trainers

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from across the region met to conduct the final planning of a rigorous teacher training event that began the next day and lasted for 3 days, through 3 March. Groups of candidates working through different stages of the Master Trainer Program led the event. Master Trainers included Dr. Celestin Ntivuguruzwa from Rwanda leading Landcover/Biology, Mr. Robert Lwikolela from Tanzania leading Soil studies, Mrs. Rogeline Brettenny leading Atmosphere, phenology and also sharing her experiences gained at recent workshops held in the U.S. for the Watershed Dynamics and Carbon Cycles ESSPs, and Mr. Paul Randrianarisoa who provided training in the hydrology investigation area, working in collaboration with Dr. Lala Rafarasoa from the University of Madagascar who has worked for years with the development and implementation of the GLOBE Malaria Protocol. All in all, over 40 participants worked together at the training event which included alumni, university students, teachers, trainers, country coordinators and Ministry officials resulting in 24 new Malagasy GLOBE teachers. In addition, materials and equipment were provided to several High Schools by the GLOBE Africa Regional Help Desk Office, to ensure students could participate in their investigation areas of interest.

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The closing ceremony of the event celebrated the accomplishments of the trainers and teachers, as well as the generosity and dedication of the GLOBE Regional Help Desk Office and all GLOBE Program Office staff in the U.S. that have provided on-going support to the program in Madagascar and the region. In an atmosphere of gaiety and frank collaboration, Ministry officials and High School administrators officially closed the 7th Annual GLOBE Africa Regional Meeting and Training Event. According to Rev. Dadebo, long-time GLOBE Country Coordinator from Ghana, "Once we work together to ensure it has been sustained, there is no reason why GLOBE cannot survive on the African continent." All country coordinators returned to their countries, as well as trainers and teachers to their classrooms, to continue their efforts to promote student interest in Earth's environment.

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Some materials brought by GLOBE Africa Regional Help Desk Office were given to some High Schools as documented in papers signed by the Ministry of National Education Officials and High Schools representatives present at the workshop.

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Malagasy Participants with the Director of Secondary Education

Read more about GLOBE activities in Madagascar and throughout the Africa region:

For more information, see the GLOBE Africa Regional Website:

2 May 2012