Inaugural Africa Scientifique Workshop

Testimonials – Feedback from Facilitators of the Inaugural Africa Scientifique Workshop

Overall Impressions of & Recommendations for the Africa Scientifique Programme

The workshop was well received and the participants were engaged.

The topics covered in the workshop are relevant to the needs of young researchers. Participants were highly engaged which showed the need of the content in their lives. This programme is also a need for young professionals who are often thrown into work without any formal training in communication, public speaking and writing skills.

The organizers of the workshop should continue with the work that they have already started. As a facilitator I was highly impressed with the organization of the programme and the high calibre of speakers invited to participate in the workshop. This is a high quality programme that deserves a wide South African audience.

On the Impact of the Africa Scientifique Workshop on their Leadership drive for the advancement of Science Communication in Africa

Apart from feeling great for contributing to the needs of the young researchers; the greatest benefit from my participation is that my research work will improve by including some of the aspects which young researchers require when they enter the workforce.

More and more there are demands on academics to participate in Science Communication/Public Engagement activities and these are being considered by funders and even for promotions.

It will definitely be part of my work as I progress with my career. My commitment is that none of my students will graduate without having some form of training in science communication/public engagement. I also feel that I need to keep learning to see how this field of science communication/public engagement grows and improves in South Africa and to ensure that those changes are incorporated in my work.

This is a new paradigm for the African context and diverse voices are needed to reach wider audiences. All possible modes of Science Communication will become even more relevant as the landscape of those participating in STEM fields changes.

Although I am grateful for the freedom that we now see in South Africa and to also have the ability to achieve all that we want for our lives; I also note that the manner in which the youth are being taught at school still holds a high Eurocentric content. This often creates conflict and confusion for most in finding an identity for themselves both personally and professionally. My drive to do science communication/public engagement work is to give confidence to young Africans that they are worthy and able to change Africa using African resources while conducting their research in Africa.

These are the very topics that motivate my science communication activities as there are many communities that end up being left out of STEM. It is also important to science communication in order to dispel existing stereotypes and to inspire those that are in communities that have previously been marginalised in terms of participating in STEM.

The African Scenarios on Science Communication: Perspectives on Challenges, Opportunities and drivers of advancement

There is currently very little research in Science Communication and in understanding whether community based science communication activities are actually in fact reaching the right audiences and having a future impact.

This field is not taken seriously enough and not embraced as important in the
training of researchers. As such there isn’t enough funding to fund programmes such as Africa Scientifique. Science communication/public engagement isn’t taught at school or most universities as part of the training needed by scientists. This would be of great benefit to scientists on completion of their programmes.

Science communication in South Africa and other parts of Africa has largely taken lessons from other places. It is important to have local solutions are directed at the African scenario.

The Eurocentric influences in the African educational system have made most Africans believe that they always require external support to succeed. This is a mind- set instilled generations ago which needs to be eradicated through initiatives such as Africa Scientifique.

I believe that it is through information, resources and infrastructure sharing that as Africans we can begin to bridge the social injustice and inequality gaps. Science communication/public engagement within my field of research has the potential of motivating young people to becoming innovative scientists of the future while also uplifting their families and communities. I remain motivated to be part of this cause because I am living proof of the positivity of having someone speak and mentor me throughout my educational journey.