1st African Space Generation Workshop

Organizing Team

Akinwale Abraham (Nigeria)
Event Manager

Akinwale Abraham had his B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He is currently the president of Space Club OAU where he had taken part in important projects on Water Rocket Leadership Training Program (WRLTP), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and many other laudable projects. He is a big enthusiast of Space Exploration and Application. He took part two times in the Find an Asteroid Campaign, SGAC (2014 & 2015).  He is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineering, OAU Chapter. He is an environment engineer, waste and energy engineering, a junior auditor and a computer analyst. He has been selected as the Event Manager for the First African Space Generation Workshop. In his private time, he loves writing, cooking and meditating. He is very much interested in economic development in terms of structural growth and industrialisation, and building capacity towards producing results.

Akinwale's reaction:
"It is a special honour for me to be selected as the Event Manager for the first AF-SGW in the continent. I would work to the very best required of this position to make the workshop a success. It is my goal that this continent grows to become a leading power in the space sector. It is with great joy that I accept this position and hope to put the young generation on the right path."


Maryanne Muriuki (Kenya)
Deputy Event Manager

Maryanne Muriuki lives in Kenya. She works as the Disaster Management Officer for ILICIT Africa (Integrating Livelihoods thru’ Communication and Information Technologies for Africa). She also serves as the deputy lead researcher on the Early Warning Early Response Disaster Management (EWERDIMA) Project in Bududa, Eastern Uganda. One of the main working areas is the implementation of Satellite Broadband in enhancing Early Warning in Landslide Situations. She also works as volunteer for a number of different organizations including; the Friends of Kinangop Plateau, A World at School and NYENTRUST. She is the founder of Nyandarua Orbit, where they spread space education through traditional storytelling, poetry and Space Clubs in school within the Nyandarua region of Kenya. Her main area of interest at the moment is the implementation of space-based technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Africa Space Agency and Policy, tied with the African Union Agenda 2063. She is trained in Disaster Management and International Diplomacy and she is currently serving as the NPoC Kenya together with Nuria Ali.

Maryanne's reaction:
I am excited to serve as the Deputy Event Manager for the first AF-SGW. I am excited to discover, interact and learn with and from other young space professionals and students from Africa. It is an amazing and unique opportunity to share and explore ideas on shaping the future of Africa in space science and technology. Significantly, it is a privilege to work with the highly talented and skilled Organising Team for this event. As an advocate for the African Union Agenda 2063, it is my hope and expectation that the event will be a big success. Hopefully, it will set a good precedent for the subsequent AF-SGWs, and it will be a launch vehicle of inspiration for other young people in Africa to join in this amazing journey.


Program Team

Ramasamy Venugopal (India)

Ramasamy Venugopal has a Bachelor of Engineering and a Masters in Space Studies from the International Space University, Strasbourg. His major interests are science communication, astronomy and space advocacy & outreach. He works with the International Astronomical Union's Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town. From January 2016, he has served as one of the secretaries to the SGAC Executive Council.

 Ramasamy's reaction:
"I'm thrilled to be part of the team organising the first African Space Generation Workshop (AF SGW). The event promises to be the first of its kind in the continent aimed at students and young professionals in the space sector. We hope to bring together passionate, creative individuals to this 2 day workshop and strengthen the network of space enthusiasts"


Dagmawi Mekonnen (Ethiopia)

Dagmawi Mekonnen is a Mechanical Engineering and a Marketing Management student at Addis Ababa University. His major interests are philosophy, Astronomy, space outreach and science. He Volunteers at organizations such as AIESEC (Vice president for incoming Exchange), ROTARACT, SGAC (National point of contact, Ethiopia ). And currently, Manager for an upcoming SEDS Ethiopia chapter.

Dagmawi's reaction:
"Being part of the first African Space Generation Workshop (AF SGW), and being part of the team that's organising it would be one of the things that I'd go back and be proud of in the future. I'm eager to work with each and every one in the AF SGW organising team, and I hope we can all work together to make this a platform where passionate students and professionals can get together and strengthen the space Network."


Delegate Team

Oluwafemi Funmilola (Nigeria)

Oluwafemi Funmilola had her Masters in Membrane-Biochemistry and Biotechnology from University of Ibadan, Nigeria and first-degree in Biochemistry from Bowen University, Nigeria. She is currently working with the Space-Agency of Nigeria - National Space Research and Development Agency, Abuja. She is a Senior Scientific Officer in the Space Life Science Unit of Engineering and Space Systems Department. She has many academic and moral awards, including the won research-instrument called Clinostat of the United Nations Human Space Technology Initiative, "Zero-Gravity Instrument Project", from United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. She primarily research into microgravity-applications in life-sciences. She has several publications on microgravity-researches and reviewed papers on Martian Spacesuit Design and Safety. She is an active-member of multiple volunteer organizations such as the Space Safety and Sustainability Group of Space Generation Advisory Council and New York Academy of Sciences where she mentors teenagers having interest in astronomy and space-activities.

Oluwafemi's reaction:
"I am honoured to be part of the delegate team in the AF-SGW 2017 organising team. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that the selection team has faith in me that I will be a part to making this workshop successful and I am here to put in my zeal to see this dream come true."


David Iwerima (Nigeria)

David Iwerima is a young space professional whose passion for space related activities has led him to create a platform where students and younger space enthusiasts would explore space and its wonders; opening their minds to endless possibilities. He is committed to peace-building in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria by engaging the minds and intellects of teenagers and young adults in special space education outreaches. He has a degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. While in the university, he became the Technical Director of the Amateur Astronomical Society of Nigeria (AMASON). He is also a member of the Astronomical Society of Nigeria (ASN). He started Tekspace Observatory Ventures and coordinates the activities of ‘We Are in Space Initiative’ (WAISI).

David's reaction:
“I am very delighted to be part of the delegate team organizing the 1st AF-SGW. It is a career developing opportunity for me.”


Nuria Ali (Kenya)

Nuria Ali is a young lady from Kenya who grew up with a deep passion for earth and space science. She graduated with a degree in Geology from the University of Nairobi, Kenya in 2016 and was appointed the National Point of Contact for SGAC in Kenya in 2017. As the NPoC for Kenya, she was able to co-organize the Yuri's night in Kenya where they hosted the president of the Austrian Space Forum and met and interacted with leaders in Space industries and universities from Kenya. As NPoC, she was also privileged to attend a capacity development action plan seminar held at the UNESCO offices in Nairobi. The seminar brought together participants from science based institutions and organizations to discuss how to build and mobilize developing country capacity to participate effectively in the Future Earth Initiative, in the frame of UNESCO-Sida Programme. Coming from a poorly developed and marginalized part of the country where education is given little importance especially for girls, she hopes she can spark interest and contribute to inspiring young girls and boys from these areas into embracing science education and work hard towards achieving their dreams.

Nuria's reaction:
“Being part of the delegate team organizing the 1st AF-SGW is a great honor for me. It is an opportunity not only to learn and grow as a leader but also to interact with experts and learn from them while creating a range of network with space professionals.”


Communication Team

Bethany Downer (Canada)

Bethany Downer was born and raised on the island of Newfoundland in Eastern Canada, she now resides in Europe and is actively working in the space sector. She  just completed her masters degree in space studies at the International Space University in France and is currently working in the communications department of the European Space Agency's Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications in England. Her professional work includes the dissemination of scientific data in the space sector to various audience and public bodies, in addition to education, outreach, and communication.

Bethany's reaction:
"I am very excited to be a part of the AF-SGW team as this is the first workshop in Africa and I believe the experience to assist in this inaugural event will be rewarding and meaningful. It is highly motivating to see the growing interest in space endeavors by various African countries, which I assure will be reflected in the enthusiasm presented at November's workshop."


Akagu Clarence (Nigeria)

Akagu Clarence was born in Lagos, Nigeria. Growing up as a kid, curious about the world around him he loves to tinker and apply scientific experiments exploring open source projects like coding and building mini-robots. He also believes that a lot can befall life on a single planet if we stagnate on Earth and do not extend life to outerspace. As a result of that, Akagu aspires to help humanity become a space faring species, through developing a keen interest in aerospace, mathematical physics and space exploration from reading science fiction books and as a student he is learning the German language with a passion for, studying mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Coventry University in England and traveling around Europe. Akagu is a co-developer working on the open-source Hyperloop, an annual competition project proposed on June 15, 2015 by the CEO of SpaceX; Elon Musk, the Hyperloop is a concept for a new form or the fifth mode of transport that is fast, autonomous and runs on clean energy with a potential goal to revolutionize transportation, transit humanity to a post-fossil fuel energy era and alleviate traffic on Earth and maybe transport humans on Mars. Akagu is helping to build  start-up team; rLoop Inc., that designs and builds hyperloop pod technology while claiming several international awards in the process with rLoop with a passion for acquiring and sharing knowledge.

Akagu's reaction:
"Akagu has also joined the communication team for the 1st AF-SGW, he is super-excited and looks forward to help the communication team in every way to make Africa a final frontier towards global space faring goals!"


Oladeji Damilola (Nigeria)

Oladeji Damilola is a final year student of Remote Sensing and Geoscience Information Systems at Federal University of Technology, Akure. He is a geospatial analyst and research fellow with passion in space technology. His major interests are Earth observation for disaster monitoring and mitigation, agricultural monitoring, urban planning and hydrologic studies. He is a member of Space Club Futa and has taken part in several projects organized by the club. He likes programming, graphics design and artwork and loves to take on responsibilities. He is an SGAC Web Editor.

Oladeji's reaction:
"I am honored to be part of the team organizing the first AF-SGW. I see this as an opportunity to network with other professional all over Africa. It is my expectation that this event will be a big success and we will work towards making Africa the next frontier in the Global Space Industry."


Logistics Team

Adeyeye Yewande (Nigeria)

Adeyeye Yewande is an Aeronautical and System engineer at the National Space Research Agency, Nigeria. She developed a passion for aerospace during an introductory course on the subject during her undergraduate years and has since begun realizing her dreams as an engineer in NASRDA. She loves the thrill of learning new things and teaching them. As a young girl, Yewande when asked what she aspired to be in future, always said she wanted to be an alchemist for the joy of transmuting any metal to gold. After realizing the futility of those dreams she decided that she wanted to be an inventor and over the years has settled for uncovering the vast mysteries of space science and technology through research. She is an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy and writer of short stories to keep her imagination alive. She obtained a B.ENG Aeronautical Engineering at Shenyang Aerospace University, China and M.Sc. Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Adeyeye's reaction:
"I am highly honored to be selected as a member of the delegation team and grateful for the opportunity to serve and make the African Space Generation Workshop a success. I hope to see you there."


Kidist Tekle (Ethiopia)

Kidist Tekle is a young ambitious Ethiopian woman who’s passionate about issues like peace, conflict resolution, gender equality, social justice and multiculturalism.
She is a holder of Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies and International Relations from New Generation University College, and a Master’s degree in Social Psychology from Addis Ababa University. Over the past two years, she has worked as project coordinator at Peace and Development Center (PDC). Recently, she had a chance to participate in a training organized by the UN University for Peace (UPEACE), for the women in Global South, which equipped her with key conceptual and practical aspects of peacekeeping, disarmament, women in peace, peace-building and peaceful uses of nuclear power.

Kidist's reaction:
“As a person who has a social science background with an enormous interest and admiration for the space sector, I feel honored and privileged to be part of the logistics team for this historic event. My expectation of being part of the first AF-SGW 2017 is to meet and work with young space sector leaders from around the world, in addition to developing invaluable experiences in coordinating a professional international team. I believe it’ll be an extraordinary experience for me and I look forward to working with culturally diverse team and make the event a success.”


Olayinka Fagbemiro (Nigeria)

Olayinka Fagbemiro has a post graduate degrees in Tech Management and Basic Space and Atmospheric Science, with nine years experience carrying out space and astronomy education outreach activities to school kids with emphasis on rural kids as a Principal Scientific Officer with the National Space Research and development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja, Nigeria. With extreme passion for impacting kids and stimulating their interest in Astronomy, she goes to schools, teaching kids and teachers as well. She is the Nigeria National coordinator for Astronomer Without Borders (AWB) and Universe Awareness (UNAWE), two international organizations with focus on inspiring kids through Astronomy.

Olayinka's reaction:
"It's really a great honour to serve in the Logistics Unit for the upcoming 1st AF-SGW. I look forward to working with every member of the team to achieve great success at this pioneer workshop as we project young African Space professionals and students to the whole world!"


Olumide Samuel (Nigeria)

Samuel Olumide Akande graduated from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria with B. Tech. (Meteorology and Climate Sciences) and M. Tech. degree in Space Science and Technology (GIS/ Remote Sensing option). He has worked as a GIS Analyst at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Centre for Space Research and Applications (CESRA), and also as Graduate Research Assistant at the African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education-English (ARCSSTE-E). His research focuses on satellite meteorology, coastal geomorphology and Remote sensing/GIS. He has published several scientific publications in national and international journals, and has contributed to some technical reports in water and environmental fields. His researches and publications focus on sustainable development, urban land use, integrated water resource management, social–ecological resilience, climate change, and drought assessments. He is currently the Scientific Officer at the Centre for Space Research and Applications (CESRA), Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. He joined the SGAC in 2015.

He is also a research assistant to Ocean Expert (A Directory of Marine and Freshwater Professionals) and the World Urban Database and Access Portal Tools (WUDAPT), a project on local climate zones of world largest cities.


Timi Ekubo (Nigeria)

Timi Ekubo is a Mechanical Engineer and a Senior Engineer with the National Space Research and Development Agency Abuja. He is a GNSS specialist and a Space Material analyst.

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