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Strengthening education and training infrastructure, and building competence in radiation safety in Africa


Strengthening radiation safety around the world is one of the major activities of the IAEA, which works closely with its Member States to enhance their capacities in this field. Building capacities in radiation safety through education and training is vital to the establishment of a comprehensive and sustainable national radiation safety infrastructure.

Postgraduate Educational Courses (PGECs) are one of the mechanisms available to build national competencies in radiation safety. These courses bring together candidates from English and French-speaking countries to receive technical education and training in radiation protection at the graduate level. All areas in the application of nuclear technology, including medicine, research, and industry, are covered.

Under the auspices of the African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development, and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA), from October 2014 to March 2015 an IAEA technical cooperation project brought together representatives from 39 Member States in the African region who received education and training in the safe, appropriate use of nuclear technology through the 5-month PGEC Group Fellowship Training. This activity is implemented through the IAEA's technical cooperation programme, and is co-funded by the European Union in a joint effort to support knowledge transfer and capacity-building in African Member States.

The aim of this project is also to build on prior work in the region by assisting Member States to develop and implement national strategies for education and training in radiation safety. This consists of an assessment of existing and foreseeable training needs, taking into account national capabilities, resources, and opportunities for Member States to utilize regional or international resources. This method of capacity building has been found to encourage self-reliance and interregional cooperation. In addition to the PGECs, several 'train-the-trainer' events were also organized under the project, providing national experts with the tools necessary to train their successors.

The project has contributed to:

  • Meet the educational and professional requirements of 40 graduate-level staff working as radiation protection officers in their respective national regulatory authorities.
  • Support Member States' efforts in developing national strategies on education and training in radiation protection.
  • The development of a syllabus for a Master's degree programme in radiation protection.

Six five-month PGEC Group Fellowship Trainings so far have been organized by the three AFRA Regional Designated Centres for Education and Training in Radiation Protection in Algeria, Ghana, and Morocco. In 2013, 20 candidates from 14 French-speaking countries in the region attended the PGEC in Morocco, which was funded by the European Union. A further 20 candidates from 14 English-speaking countries attended the PGEC in Ghana.

        Project RAF9048, African Regional Cooperative Agreement for Research, Development, and Training Related to Nuclear Science and Technology (AFRA), is implemented by the IAEA with funding by the European Union.


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Last update: 26 Jul 2017

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