- Setting up a database of Earth science institutions and experts
In an assessment in 2009, UNESCO counted 128 universities in Africa with a department of Earth sciences. Through this activity, an e-directory where profiles of institutions can be accessible online will be set up. It is expected that this tool to be the driving force for any future collaboration and exchange among Earth science institutions. Information such as location, address, contacts, websites, available expertise, and existing links with other institutions will be available online.
- Setting up a database of Earth science curricula available in various universities
While looking for universities, students are always concerned about how their studies will prepare them for their future. Such a tool will provide them with more opportunities to select courses that correspond to their aspirations and at the same time, increase the visibility of institutions and help them attract the best candidates. This tool can also trigger other forms of collaboration such as Joint Degree Programmes.
- Setting up a database of available research infrastructure
With the disparity of resource distribution, many institutions are at different levels of development in terms of infrastructure. We have also encountered situations where a high quality analytical facility hosted by one institution is underused, while another institution in a neighbouring country is in need of use of such a facility. In the context of resource limitation, such a tool will promote an optimum use of analytical facilities available in the region.
- Setting up a database of Earth science publications in African institutions
Scientific knowledge grows through the exchange of ideas. Many universities in the region have an important database of publications, particularly scientific monographs that are not always known or accessible elsewhere. Through this activity, exposure of Earth science publications of member institutions will promote sharing opportunities.
- Setting up exchange Programmes for researchers and students
This generic activity is at the core of the ANESI strategy and is designed to serve as the barometer of the vitality of the network. The programmes will take various forms such as Post-graduate Fellowships, Visiting (Staff Exchange) Fellowships, or Short term training Fellowships. On the other hand, there is increasing interest from retirees from academic institutions outside Africa, offering to spend a few weeks in African universities. Seizing these opportunities will counter the present shortage of staff in some specific fields. ANESI will encourage and facilitate such short term teaching visits.
- Create a web-based compilation of best practices and application in Earth sciences
In a context of the isolation and resource limitation common to most African universities, it may be helpful to make use of the enormous potential offered by modern technologies. Today, it is possible to acquire various skills in a simulative environment without being necessarily physically present in classrooms, laboratories or in the field. UNESCO will use its network to compile these modern tools in one portal to allow an open access by academia in African universities. The existence of these online materials will be promoted through the existing network and social media awareness.
- Setting up of a database of Earth science related industries and profiling of Earth science Institutions
Some Earth science industries in Africa have experimented with training of their staff in their own structures (e.g. Total Nigeria Graduate Training Programme; Geological Field Mapping School of Council for Geoscience in South Africa). This shows that the industries are really in need of trainees with appropriate skills. Bringing together Earth science related industries and universities through a web portal will create more opportunities of partnership in joint teaching projects and research funding, as well as internships and job opportunities for graduates.
- Organize awareness workshop for teachers and education officers on Earth science education
It is a well-established fact that in lower levels of education (primary and secondary), geology has not gained the same status as geography, history, mathematics or physics. In many African countries, Earth sciences appear for the first time at the end of secondary school or only at university. This activity aims at building the capacity of teachers to communicate basic concepts of Earth sciences to children. Focus will be on training of trainers so that the new knowledge is shared and eventually result in the training of more Earth science-skilled teachers in Africa.
- Create a Visiting Fellowship scheme for Outstanding Women Geoscientists
This activity will constitute one of the generic activities of the network and will pay special attention to the young African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG). Many opportunities of Visiting Fellowship exist through UNESCO’s network of partners (academic and industry) inside and outside Africa. ANESI will explore opportunities to encourage outstanding women geoscientists. In this regards, member institutions will be invited to submit applications of their best graduate.