George Lucas Educational Foundation Celebrating our 25th Anniversary!

Ghana Planetarium

To bridge the shortage of scientific educational centers in East, West, and Central Africa.

There is a severe shortage of interactive educational science centres in East, West and Central Africa, and very few active planetariums in the whole continent. We have found mention of just one hands-on science centre and a couple of planetariums in Southern Africa, one in North Africa, and little else in between.

From a background of teaching Biochemistry to University students and a range of other activities, Dr Jacob Ashong has had a dream to create a science centre and planetarium in Ghana for a number of years. Part of the inspiration came from a visit to the Exploratorium in San Francisco in the 1980's, and later from centres nearer home such as the Science Centre in Herstmonceux, Sussex, UK, located at the site where the Royal Greenwich Observatory was housed for many years after its move from London. Up until recently a shortage of funds and lack of a suitable space have made it difficult to proceed with the Ghana Science Project.

Now though, the planetarium project is soon to become reality with the help of Planetarium Director Dave Weinrich from America who has offered his expertise. By his efforts, an offer of a refurbished digital projector has been made by an Audio Visual Engineering company in America. Jacob now has a space in a large garden, in a surprisingly tranquil location not far from the bustling city centre of Accra, and has started to construct the building which will house the projector and the planetarium shows. At the time of writing, Easter 2008, the floor and walls have been constructed and work is due to begin on the domed roof.

Jacob and Jane Ashong are looking for volunteers with an interest in running planetarium shows, who may wish to stay for a few weeks or a month or two, and are also looking for words of experience and advice from anyone who has been involved in a similar building project.

Jacob is from Ghana and Jane is from Sussex, UK, and together with an organisation which has experience of looking after volunteers, Ikando, they can help to make new visitors to the country comfortable while staying in Accra, by letting them know what to expect, how to prepare for the trip, where things are, something about the culture, health and safety advice, etc. With a staff of ten, Jacob and Jane run a resource centre administering distance learning Masters level courses from British universities, offering additional tutorial support to students. For the science and planetarium projects they are looking for self-funding volunteers with relevant knowledge or experience who can pay for their return flight. Help will be given in locating and booking inexpensive accommodation and with other aspects of day-to-day living in an unfamiliar setting. As well as the planetarium, volunteers are also sought to set up interactive exhibits.

If you are able to help in any way, please email jacob_ashong@yahoo.com to obtain further information or to give information about how you can help.
Read more about planetarium shows at: http://www.saasta.ac.za/astronomy/pdfs/planetarium.pdf
or about the MediaGlobe Projector at: http://www.konicaminolta.com/kmpl/hard/mediaglobe.html

Areas of Interest: 
Immersive Visual Educational Programming,
Physical/Biological Sciences,
Primary Education