African Science Literacy Network: Science Communication and Journalism workshop holds in Abuja, September 9 - 10
The two-day intensive training workshop is part of the Wellcome Trust funded project tagged: “African Science Literacy Network” being hosted by Science Communication Hub Nigeria to train scientists and journalists on the different methods of engaging the public with science towards bolstering science communication and reporting in Africa.
While speaking ahead of the workshop Mahmoud Bukar Maina – founder Science Communication Hub Nigeria – said, the workshop will train about 70 scientists and journalists on various methodologies of science communication that can be used in communicating health research through outreach activities and in the mass media. “Through the workshop, we also aim to create partnerships between scientists and journalists for long term development of science in Nigeria. Scientists and journalists need one another!” said Maina, a neuro-scientist at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom (UK) and organizer of the African Science Literacy Network project in Nigeria.
Maina noted that science has grown enormously in the past decades including the growth of research in science, engineering, technology and other similar subject areas underscoring the increasingly central role of science in our daily lives. Hence, the public needs to have enough understanding of science. He lamented, however, that in countries like Nigeria science misconceptions were high due to the lack of science culture and effective communication. “This is partly the reason why people engage in self-medication or avoid vaccination. Moreover, funding for science [in Nigeria] is inadequate; thus, affecting our well-being and the ability of our institutions to nurture the future generation of Nigerian scientists and hinders our potential in advancing the society through scientific innovation,” added Maina.
He observed that Nigerian scientists were not actively engaged in communicating their research findings to the public, adding, there is a low interest in science among journalists and consequently inaccurate reporting of scientific research findings in the media. “I am optimistic that this workshop would facilitate and sustain science engagements that promote understanding, trust, and support for science in Nigeria," Maina said.