Call for Seed Grants in Support of Cascade Outreach Activities in your Home Community

Attention all Astronomy Ambassadors for Africa!

Are you captivated by the marvels of astronomy and eager to share this fascination with your home community?

We’re seeking enthusiastic individuals or small teams to lead astronomy outreach initiatives in their hometowns and become the relatable role models of tomorrow within their communities.

The Cascade Outreach model is more than just an outreach framework; it’s a movement towards diversity, inclusivity, and empowering the next generation of scientists with communication and leadership skills. 

Too often, the global effort to promote prominent scientists as youth role models falls short. But we believe in a different approach. We prioritise relatability over accolades, understanding that true inspiration comes from connecting with peers on a personal level.

By joining us, you’ll help tackle pressing challenges such as lack of awareness about science career opportunities, and minority-induced imposter syndrome. Together, we’ll break down barriers like language and access, creating a more inclusive scientific community.

Your involvement will make a real difference, whether it’s engaging with school students, organising star parties, or offering hands-on astronomy workshops to teachers. And the best part? Funding is available to support your efforts.

The African Astronomical Society (AfAS) Education and Outreach Committee, in collaboration with the Inter-university Institute for Data-Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) and the IAU General Assembly 2024 (IAU-GA2024), is offering seed funding to support cascade outreach activities across Africa. The seed funding you or your small team apply for will need to support travel and activity resources (up to ZAR 6000 per team, or more under exceptional circumstances).  If you believe this funding can help you make a difference in your community, fill out the form by 22 April 2024 to apply.


Funding: up to ZAR 6000 per team

Deadline: 22 April 2024

Who can be an ambassador?

An ambassador for the astronomy outreach and education program in Africa is an individual who is passionate about astronomy and dedicated to promoting it within their community. They would serve as a representative and advocate for the program’s goals, which include uniting the African astronomy community, conducting outreach activities, and popularising astronomy among the public.

Ideal candidates for the ambassador role would possess the following qualifications:

  • A strong passion for astronomy and a commitment to promoting it within their community.
  • Background or interest in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) fields, with knowledge or experience in astronomy or space science, or physics being advantageous.
  • Effective communication skills to engage with diverse audiences and inspire interest in astronomy.
  • A proactive and enthusiastic approach to organising events and initiatives.
  • A willingness to collaborate with others and contribute to the growth of the astronomy community in Africa.

What are the expectations for ambassadors?

Ambassadors are expected to conduct outreach activities in local schools, focusing on their respective communities. Additionally, they will be responsible for facilitating activities within science clubs/centres, providing them with astronomy-related content, materials, and programs. If a science club doesn’t exist in a particular area, ambassadors will need to collaborate with schools to establish one.

Ambassadors must commit to serving as the primary point of contact between AfAS, IDIA, and the science club to ensure ongoing support and sustainability.

The ambassadors are asked to propose the number of schools that they will visit and the award will be based on cost effectiveness of their planned activities. 

Upon completion of their outreach activities, ambassadors are required to submit a comprehensive report detailing their trip, including signed registers from the schools and visual documentation of the activities.

The program will maintain a database of ambassadors and science clubs to facilitate monitoring and evaluation, future engagements, and the overall growth and development of the program.

What are the expectations for science centres/organisations?

Science centres/organisations will be expected to host ambassadors that will run activities in their regions at their centres where there will be a mutual exchange of information and skills between the ambassadors and the science centres or science engagement professionals.

Astronomy outreach training and resources

Astronomy outreach training and resources will be provided to ambassadors, with a training session arranged to equip them with the necessary skills for conducting outreach activities. Furthermore, and wherever possible, additional resources may be made available to offer support and aid ambassadors in planning and executing their outreach initiatives.

Application Process


Who is eligible to apply?

  • Students and young professionals engaged in astronomy, astrophysics, or other Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) disciplines are welcome to apply. Preference will be given to those studying astronomy and/or astrophysics.
  • Applicants residing in Africa (only travel within the home country will be funded)
  • Applicants with reliable/traceable affiliations and references

Important to note when applying:

Please verify that you agree to and will abide by the following before beginning your application. Contact us at in case of queries.

  • The AfAS Outreach and Education Committee encourages applications from individuals/small teams that have not received funding from us in the past.
  • Applicants are encouraged to work together in small teams (one application per team) if they will be conducting activities in the same community.
  • The Committee encourages all eligible candidates to apply, even those who have never participated in such initiatives before.
  • The Committee encourages applications from regions and countries which are remote and often do not have access to resources.
  • Selection will factor in the geographic distribution of the planned activities across Africa to ensure spread and diversity.
  • All distributable activity resources, materials, etc. should be released to the public under an appropriate license (e.g.Creative Commons) allowing free use and adaptation, unless otherwise agreed to with the Committee.
  • Proposers should be able to provide a verified bank account through which funds can be paid if the ambassador’s submission is selected for funding.
  • All planned activities should adhere to the Principle of Universality of Science as defined by the International Science Council (previously ICSU), of which the IAU is a member.
  • Planned activities should also adhere to the IAU Code of Conduct which includes policies on ethics and anti-harassment best practices. The code of conduct should be made available to participants of all IAU funded activities.
  • In the case of team submissions, all team members listed in the proposal should have discussed the proposal and committed to executing the planned activities. The team should be prepared to provide verification of qualifications and/or reference letters if requested by the Committee.
  • The proposers should obtain all necessary permissions and authorisations, as required by their national and local laws, to carry out their work, such as written parental consent when working with minors, permission to use copyrighted material, permission for gatherings etc.
  • The Ambassador or proposing team, in consultation with the Committee, should set the expected outcomes and deliverables and corresponding measurement methods in order to determine the impact
  • Proposals should be submitted via the online application form. All proposals received will be acknowledged by email. Contact us at if you do not receive an email confirmation of your application. If you are unable to submit the proposal online for any reason, you may contact us at at least a week before the deadline to arrange for an alternative submission method. This includes anyone with visual or other impairments who may require assistance.
  • Application forms should be complete and received by the Committee before the deadline.

Selection Process

All applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by members of IDIA and the AfAS Outreach and Education Committee for evaluation.

Selection Criterion **Corresponding questions in the application form  Scoring Considerations Scoring total
Planned Activities Question 13: How will you achieve your goals using Astronomy? Will the activities make the desired impact?

Is there a clear activity plan that uses astronomy?

Have local science centres been suitably involved or are there adequate plans to start science clubs? 

Are the activities targeting an appropriate audience, using suitable languages?

Past experience Question 14: Have you conducted similar initiatives in the past? If Yes, briefly describe. Have you conducted similar initiatives in the past? 2
Finance Question 15: Approximate budget Does the budget make sense? Expected reach versus the amount requested 5
Reviewer overall score Question 12: Why should we fund your activities?

Overall impression

What is the overall impression? 5

** guideline only – information relating to a particular criterion may come from other questions also

The deadline for this submission is 22 April 2024.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 30 April 2024. All cascade outreach activities will be expected to be conducted during May to July 2024. Successful applicants will also be expected to carefully document all expenses (keeping receipts), will need to submit a post-activity report, and be prepared to potentially present on their experiences and lessons learnt at future AfAS affiliated meetings. For more information, contact the AfAS Education and Outreach Committee at 

This call and initiative pays tribute to the incredible work and vision of Professor Carolina Ödman-Govender. By pioneering the cascade outreach model in Africa, she ensured that all will have a voice on the continent for the years to come.  

Together, let’s make a long-lasting impact and inspire the next generation of scientists!