Africa Scientifique – Concept Development

The international recognition of the critical role of science communication, scientific public engagement, science and society actions and studies and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS), has been a growing field of scientific endeavour globally, since the 1980’s, and continues to advance the foot-print of scientific literacy across the globe. There has also been the established understanding of the links between the levels of PLUS in societies and the increased economic development of nations.

On the African continent, however, these international developments have been slow to take root, and the foot-prints have been patchy, uneven and disparate across countries and sub-regions. In addition, there is the glaring lack of capacity-building with regard to the knowledge, skills, and leadership of African scientists, researchers, academics and science communicators’ for the impactful and sustainable delivery of science communication and public engagement activities across the continent.

African Gong has since its inception been contributing to ad hoc programmes, workshops and activities to engender the growth and development of practice and programme development for science communication, in partnership with a number of African institutions and stakeholder entities. However, in the course of these activities, and over the years, it has become glaringly obvious that a critical challenge to the growth of science communication on the African continent is fundamentally, that of the poor skills, knowledge, motivation and expertise of African researchers, scientists, academics, and science communicators. This realisation has led African Gong to conceptualise its wholly African-centric innovative flagship programme – Africa Scientifique, to address the good practice gaps, enhance motivations and understandings, and engender African-centric socio-cultural norms, contexts and languages into the dynamic transformation of science communication practice and impact on the African continent.

African Gong advocates for a ‘societal literacy’ approach to public engagement in Africa — a two-way approach that highlights the role of scientists. Hence the rationale for the conceptualisation of its flagship programme – Africa Scientifique with Gender & Socio-Cultural Inclusion as cross-cutting themes across the full spectrum of the programme.