The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ethiopian Association of Science Journalists, is organising a science communication training workshop September 19-20, 2012 at the United Nations Conference Center Addis Ababa (UNCC-AA), Ethiopia.
The theme of the workshop is ‘Making Science and Technology Information More Accessible for Africa’s Development’.
The workshop is due to the realisation that the greatest impediment to the development of science, technology and innovation sector in Africa and its contribution to Africa’s development at large is the communication gap that exists among the major actors and players both within and outside the sector. This gap is further exasperated by high level of illiteracy and lack of appropriate communication tools and means.
It has also been observed that a limited level of funding for science and technology sectors primarily due to lack of or poor understanding of the role of science and technology in African development by policy makers.
The 2-day workshop is part of a series of five training workshops which are set to be organised in different regions of Africa. Each of these workshops will address media professionals’ capacity building needs on reporting on science, technology and innovation for development and promote networking as a platform for information and knowledge sharing.
The workshop will invite selected science journalists, resource persons with materials and topical stories, and ideas on selected development issues such as climate change and biodiversity, and how it can be related to policy decisions at community, national or regional levels.
The workshop aims to enable journalists in East Africa to improve the quality of their reports to the public and its impact on the livelihood of African citizens; provide insight into the fundamental roles and responsibilities of science journalism for African development; determine priority thematic areas and ways to further continuous training and development of science journalists and consolidate and strength scientific reporting and writing of participants with the view to improving the quality of scientific news reaching the public.
Other objectives include exchange of new and emerging science communication methods and approaches; help reporters and writers produce accurate and informative stories about developments in science, technology, medicine and the environment; identify challenges to science communication and more effective science reporting for further planning with all this culminating in the launch of the East Africa Science Journalists Network.