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Amanar is a project organised by the astronomy outreach project GalileoMobile to inspire young Sahrawis through astronomy. The initiative pays special attention to children, young people and teachers to awaken their interest in science. The project facilitates the development of scientific skills, such as critical thinking, by performing hands-on activities and sky observations. Moreover, the programme promotes teacher workshops to encourage educators to use astronomy as a didactic tool to contribute to the improvement of the quality of teaching in the region. The Project also values the Saharawi knowledge of the sky, contributing to strengthening their resilience and making them feel part of a global community.

Amanar was established in 2019 with activities both in the Canary Islands (Spain) and in refugee camps near Tindouf (Algeria). The project started as a collaboration between GalileoMobile, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), the Asociación Canaria de Amistad con el Pueblo Saharaui (ACAPS), and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), through its Office for Astronomy for Development (OAD) and its centenary celebrations. During the summer of 2019, we organised hands-on astronomy activities and visits to professional observatories in the Canary Islands for the Sahrawi children and host families participating in the “Vacaciones en Paz' programme, which brought Sahrawi children to spend the summer with host families in Spain.  In October of that same year, an international team of astronomers, educators and filmmakers travelled to the Tindouf refugee camps to work with the local students and teachers, taking educational materials to the schools and making a study of ethnoastronomy, as well as various audiovisual products. In total, 635 children, 66 teachers, and 150 people from the general public participated in the project activities.

Thanks to grants from the IAU OAD and the Europlanet Public Engagement Funding Scheme, we were able to ensure the sustainability of activities to support the Sahrawi communities beyond 2019. However, the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to modify our plans, as we were prevented from organising the summer programme in 2020 and 2021. The return of activities in the camps was also postponed due to travel restrictions.

Nonetheless, the project was able to continue support to the Sahrawi community in alternative ways. For instance, we initiated a training programme with the Sahrawi teachers we worked with in 2019. The programme was developed through WhatsApp, which works efficiently, even with a poor internet connection, and teachers can easily use it through their mobile phones. Other important actions included supporting a Sahrawi research group, with whom we started a study on ethnoastronomy and the development of ‘transmedia narratives’.

In 2022, after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown restrictions were lifted in Spain,  the summer programme resumed and was expanded to several cities in mainland Spain, including Madrid, Valencia, A Coruña and Granada, where astronomical organisations and NGOs organised activities for Sahrawi children. In 2023, we will organise the summer programme again.

​The project has been selected as Special Project by the International Astronomical Union through the IAU100 program and since 2019 has received funding from the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO) , the IAU Centenary Celebrations (IAU100) and the Europlanet Society.





Sandra Benitez Herrera


Astrophysicist & Science Communicator at European Space Agency (ESA).

GalileoMobile member since 2011. 


Francesca Rizzo


Astrophysicist at Niels Bohr Institute.


Eduardo Penteado


Astrophysicist & Science Communicator at International Astronomical Union.

GalileoMobile member since 2011.


Jorge Rivero González


Astrophysicist & Science Communicator at Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC).

GalileoMobile member since 2009. 


Diego Torres Machado


Astrophysicist at the Brazilian Center of Physical Research.

GalileoMobile member since 2016.


Fabio del Sordo


Astrophysicist and Researcher at Instiute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC).

GalileoMobile member since 2008.


Felipe Carrelli


Independent filmmaker. 

GalileoMobile member since 2015.


Nayra Rodriguez


Astrophysicist & Science Communicator at Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).


Alba Fernández


Astrophysicist & Science Communicator at the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO).


Andrea Rodriguez Antón


Expert on Etno & Archeoastronomy. Instituto de Ciencias del Patrimonio.

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).


Sarah Massalkhi


Astrophysicist at Instituto de Física Fundamental (IFF).

Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).



The Project has not been possible without the involvement of the Canarian Association of Friendship with the Sahrawi People in Tenerife (ACAPS). ACAPS has dedicated more than 30 years to denounce the situation of the Sahrawi population and plea for their auto-determination. They coordinate, together with other organisations, the collection and distribution of humanitarian aid as well as the establishment of educational and social projects in the camps and programs to reunite the families separated by the war. The ACAPS is our link with Sahrawi authorities, including the Ministry of Education.

A huge thank you goes out to our partners who have supported us either through direct funding: the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), the Europlanet Society, the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO), the Centenary Celebrations of the International Astronomical Union (IAU100) and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC); or through donation of educational materials and resources: Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO), Virgo Collaboration, Gran Telescopio de Canarias (GTC), Universe Awareness (UNAWE) and Leiden Observatory and Galileo teacher Training Program (GTTP). We are also very grateful to the IAU OAO for donating telescopes to the project and the IAU Astronomy Translation Network of the IAU and the Amnir Association for translating our educational resources into Spanish and Arabic, respectively.

The Summer programme activities are only possible thanks to the local organisers: Agrupación ÍO (A Coruña), Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (Granada), ESA CESAR (Madrid), Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Tenerife), Instituto de Ciencias del Espacio (Barcelona) y Observatorio de la Universidad de Valencia (Valencia).

​Other local supporters in the Canary Islands are: Asociación Canaria de Solidaridad con el Pueblo Saharaui, TITSA, Cielos de la Palma, CEIP en Arucas, Fundación Observatorio de Temisas, Agrupación Astronómica de Gran Canaria.




Desert Stars is a transmedia narrative co-created between the Saharawi people, GalileoMobile and Amanar Task Force. The project was developed in partnership with the Graduate Program in Creative Media (PPGMC - UFRJ), the  Multimedia Research Group (GPMM - CEFET/RJ) and the Institute of Physics (if - UFF). ​


The initial proposal of Desert Stars was to use virtual reality to popularize the Saharawi worldview. Yet, throughout the co-creation process, arises the demand to denounce the refuge situation faced by this population of Western Sahara since 1975.  


Desert Stars is composed of six different products. Each piece explores a different approach and user experience, based on the specific  media and platform.


Click below to check out our hotsite and know more about our products.

Our work


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