Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:
Type of Events Held:
- School Program
- Other: Resource distribution and awareness
- Elementary school students(1-5)
- High School students(9-12)
- Middle school students(6-8)
Approximate Number of People Reached:
15 000 schools
Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:
As part of the Southern African Neuroscience Society’s mission to foster interest in the brain and provide a means of communication about neuroscience in Southern Africa, we celebrated our first Brain Awareness Week this year. Unfortunately, neuroscience is not a widely discussed topic in South Africa and therefore we aimed to increase awareness of this field. Towards this end, we created a new section of the SANS website that hosts a collection of freely available information on the brain. We included subsections based on the age of participants with resources covering games and puzzles for younger children right through to manuscript preparation and ethics guidelines for undergraduate students. We included a separate section for educators so that they can improve their knowledge of the brain and access relevant worksheets, lesson plans and activities. To cater for more targeted interest in brain disorders, we included links to disease-specific resources. Lastly, we included links to popular science discussions about neuroscience, including podcasts and videos. We hoped that having as wide a range of resources as possible would encourage people to view neuroscience as less intimidating and rather recognise it as a dynamic and engaging subject relevant to many facets of our lives. We forwarded a short introduction to Brain Awareness Week and the link to our education site to 15 000 South African schools (including both primary and high schools). This was a first step for SANS and next year we plan to engage more directly. However, we hope that providing a directory of freely-available information will be a first step in encouraging people to learn about the brain.
Event Planning & Publicity
Publicity Methods Used:
- Social Media
Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?
Of the Dana Foundation publications/resources distributed at your event(s), if any, please indicate the three most popular. Please choose up to three. If "other," please indicate below:
Other Dana Foundation Materials Distributed:
- We did not distribute physical materials. Rather we provided links to online resources
- including those listed above.
What downloadable materials from the Foundation did you use for your events?
- Q&A: Answering Your Questions About Brain Research
- Puzzles: Grades K-2
- Puzzles: Grades 3-5
- Puzzles: Grades 6-8
- Puzzles: Grades 9-12
- Puzzles: Mindboggling Series
- Puzzles: BAW Favorites
- Mindboggling Coloring Sheets
- Brain Briefs Fact Sheets
- Kids Fact Sheets Grades 3-5
- Kids Fact Sheets Grades 6-8
What other downloadable materials would you like the Foundation to provide?
- Fact Sheets
- Lesson Plans
Which BAW graphic materials did you use in publicizing your events?
- BAW Logos
Feedback & Keys to Success
How do you feel BAW participation benefited your organization and the local community?
BAW participation allowed us to access some of the member-only resources and to read about others successful projects, which we may use as guidelines when we expand to direct engagement. We did receive some feedback from our emails requesting physical copies of the information provided rather than weblinks. We also received requests for further information. Within the SANS community, we had suggestions about expanding the project with more direct engagement.
Please share any suggestions or lessons learned that may help others plan future events:
We realised that it will be very difficult for certain schools to access the websites because of limited internet connectivity. Furthermore, there are very limited neuroscience resources available in local languages. Providing access to English resources may not be as helpful to schools and individuals without a solid knowledge of English.
Did/do you like our Facebook page?
Was the information provided on Facebook useful?
The information was very helpful.