About US

Who are we? What do we do? What do we hope to achieve?

BACKGROUND

Learn more about who we are and what we do.

During the course of the 13th International Public Communication of Science & Technology (PCST) Conference held in Salvador, Brazil, from the 5-8th May, 2014, it became clear to the few African delegates in attendance that there was a driving imperative to address the challenges of public communication of science and technology on the African continent. In addition, the realisation of the need to enhance the capacity, visibility and collaborative partnerships among African practitioners was demonstrated by the highly visible and systematic good practice of the Latin American and Caribbean – Science Communication Network, known as RED-POP, which was formed with the strategic and sustained support of UNESCO Latin America & the Caribbean Region.The rationale for this development was further informed by the poor legacy of the PCST-2002 Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, in delivering the leadership and framework for the aspirations and expectations of a post-event pan-African network of practitioners.

African Gong was thus, conceptualised and formed with the strategic support of UNESCO Africa region, based on the good practice model of RED-POP.

Below is a list of the founding Steering Group Committee members of African Gong, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, 2014:

  • Chairperson: Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala (Nigeria & South Africa): Founder, African-Caribbean Network for Science & Technology (ACNST)
  • Dr. Ashong Clifford Ashong ( Nigeria ): Senior Lecturer, University of Uyo, Nigeria
  • Mr. Joao Emidio Cossa (Mozambique): Director, Ministry of Science & Technology, Higher Education & Vocation Technical, Mozambique
  • Mr. Maximino Carlos (Sao Tome & Principe): Senior Science Journalist
  • Mr. Ochieng Ogodo (Kenya): Senior Science Journalist and Regional Co-ordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa, Scidev.net
  • Dr. Herbert Batta (Nigeria): Senior Lecturer, University of Calabar, Nigeria
  • Mr. Adalberto Varela (Cape Verde): Director, Ministry of Science & Innovation, Cape Verde
  • Mr. Rodrick Sambakunsi (Malawi): Senior Researcher & Project Manager, Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Malawi
  • Mrs. Deborah Nyirenda (Malawi): Senior Researcher, Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Malawi

MANIFESTO

What we hope to achieve.

Our Vision: To realise a scientifically literate African citizenry driven and powered by its ownership of scientific knowledge.

Our Mission: To embark and sustain African citizens and communities through science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) on an evolving, empowering and progressive journey to own and include scientific notions in their everyday experience, so that they are better able to make informed choices and decisions that will improve the quality of their lives.

Strategic Aims and Objectives
To support and advance science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) in a strategic framework encompassing the key parameters of:

  • Policy Development: The agenda is to strive for the ‘mainstreaming’ of science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) within Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies at African national levels, Regional Economic Communities (REC’s) and within continental development frameworks such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the AU/NEPAD Science, Technology & Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024. To this end, we will contribute to the provision of advisory support, training and expertise to African Member states and REC’s for the delivery of innovative policy and programme development for science communication, science and society and the PLUS.
  • Practice and Programme Development: The Agenda is to work across diverse stakeholders and partnerships to develop, conceptualise, embed, identify, showcase and highlight good practice initiatives, programmes, approaches, tools, methodologies, strategies, partnerships, etc., in the innovative delivery of science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) in Africa and in the African Diaspora.
  • Capacity Development: We plan to support African universities and research institutions in growing the human capital for the continent’s science communication and the PLUS outreach and programme delivery, through contributing to the development of innovative training modules, transformative and African-centric curricula development, science and society studies, promotion of international student exchanges, international research collaborations, and the involvement of the private sector operating on the African continent, and in the African Diaspora.

Media

  • We plan to establish a strong media platform on the African continent. Our media channels will be comprised of strong social media networks, community radio programmes and multi-media outlets.
  • Our media strategy will be delivered and sustained through developing a comprehensive and cohesive working partnership with science journalists and media on the African continent and in the African Diaspora.
  • Science communication and the public learning and understanding of science programmes and activities of various stakeholders in the public, private and civil society sectors will also be profiled through our media channels.

Workshops and Conferences

  • We shall convene dynamic, interactive and well-informed workshops and conferences with key strategic partners and stakeholders periodically.
  • Through these events and other platforms, we shall build synergies and collaborate with African governments, the Regional Economic Communities (REC’s), the African Union AU/NEPAD, existing NGOs/CSO’s, Academic institutions, private and public organizations, and international multi-lateral agencies and institutions, to achieve our aims.

Membership of African Gong

The membership of African Gong is both institutional and individual, including the following: Academics; Media and Science Journalists; Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s); Policy-makers; Researchers; Educators; Science & Technology Centres and Museums; and the Private sector, across the African continent and the African Diaspora.

PEOPLE

Who we are

<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-736" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala</a>

Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala

President

Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala is an International Development Expert on Energy, Human Capital Development in STEM Education, Skills and Innovation and Gender, with over fifteen years’ experience in the UK, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and Africa. She has specialist expertise and track record in the following areas – Policy Reform and Development; Gender Equality, Diversity & Social Inclusion; Monitoring, Review & Evaluation; Research & Innovation; Transformative Capacity-building & Training; and Curriculum Development/transformation in Higher Education.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-806" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Prof. Aziz Bensalah</a>

Prof. Aziz Bensalah

North Africa Regional Chair

Prof. Aziz Bensalah is currently Professor at the Mohammed V University of Rabat in Morocco and was previously Professor at the National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research in the same city.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1118" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Dr Judith Gbenoudon</a>

Dr Judith Gbenoudon

ECOWAS Regional Chair & Co-ordinator for Francophone Countries

Director for Informatics and Pre-achieving at the Ministry for Higher Education and Scientific Research, in the Republic of Benin
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1124" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Mr Roderick Emmanuel Sambakunsi</a>

Mr Roderick Emmanuel Sambakunsi

SADC Regional Chair

Based in Malawi, and currently working for the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1127" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Dr Bernard Appiah</a>

Dr Bernard Appiah

Head of Capacity-Building and Research Programmes

Dr Bernard Appiah wears many hats; he is a Pharmacist, Science Journalist, global health scholar, public engagement specialist, and science communication scholar and practitioner, with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1132" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">David Mbulumi</a>

David Mbulumi

Head of Media Operations

David Mbulumi has a rare background that combines an academic background in laboratory sciences and a career in journalism and communication.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1136" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Ms. Deborah Nyirenda</a>

Ms. Deborah Nyirenda

Membership Co-ordinator

A PhD fellow from the University of Liverpool and University of Malawi-College of Medicine joint PhD Program.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1140" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Ms. Funmi Eyeoyibo</a>

Ms. Funmi Eyeoyibo

ECOWAS Deputy-Regional Chair

Funmi Eyeoyibo has over twenty years’ successful track record of working in the public, private and civil society sectors of Nigeria.
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<a class="pum-trigger  popmake-1143" data-do-default="" style="cursor: pointer;">Mr. João Emidio Cossa</a>

Mr. João Emidio Cossa

SADC Deputy Regional Chair

Mr. Cossa has worked for 13 years in the Communications Field, in various roles and public institutions.
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STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK

In developing African Gong, we envision a network that is multi-disciplinary, inclusive, interactive and multi-level in its membership, constituencies and partnerships, for the purpose of the exchange of information, regional and continental co-operation, including the African Diaspora. Other critical delivery parameters for the network include training, capacity-building, resource mobilisation, development and sharing of good practice in science communication and the popularization of science and technology, on the African continent. A critical component of this inclusive landscape is the commitment of African Gong to Language Diversity and thus, to work towards operating and delivering across the three-main sub-Saharan African working Languages of English, French and Portuguese, and also, Indigenous African Languages.

Our key goal is to encourage the creation, dissemination and utilisation of science and technology for addressing pressing developmental needs on the African continent in a sustainable manner. A pivotal role is envisaged for the harnessing of the Indigenous knowledge and participatory capacity of Africa’s scientists and communicators, to enhance social inclusion, as well as cultural and political engagement. This network will also engender opportunities for international research collaborations, projects and networking in various international fora and conferences.

African Gong has envisioned a pivotal objective for its activities as that of closing the profound ‘knowledge gaps’ that exist at multi-stakeholder levels on the continent (local communities, social scientists, indigenous knowledge systems), multilevel capabilities and transnational dialogues. A distinct hallmark of this transformed landscape in science communication should be the synthesis and delivery of scientific and other knowledge in dynamic and empowering multi-stakeholder partnerships, which reduce the ‘knowledge gaps’ at the individual, community, policy, institution and government levels and at socio-economic (race, gender, social class) levels and reduce the knowledge gap in legislation and implementation.

Framing the Science Communication & PLUS Agenda in Africa

African Gong is ambitious in aiming to achieve a re-imagined and re-fashioned landscape of transformative science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) for sustainable development in Africa. Key parameters of the hallmarks of this innovative landscape include the following:

  • Citizen-centred approaches that prioritize gendered social and cultural paradigms to transform the Eurocentric and masculine-biased programmes that currently dominate. These also involve the mainstreaming of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) into ways of conceptualizing, delivering and practising science communication and the PLUS, so as to tap into local, urban and rural communities and their traditional indigenous ways of knowing and understanding natural and scientific phenomena. There is also the need to address language diversity so that science communication and the PLUS materials, resources and engagements can be produced, disseminated and interacted in diverse local African languages and incorporated as early learning tools in school curricula. This would deliver enhanced reach, sustainable impact and empower local communities and our youth.
  • The active involvement of social scientists to help address sociocultural contexts. There is a growing acknowledgement that multidisciplinary scientific endeavour is critical to enabling societies to overcome multiple development challenges. The imperative of multi-disciplinarity should thus, also apply in the ways that science is communicated—the what, the how, the where, the tools, the methodologies and so on. Science communication and PLUS initiatives should then be co-designed in transdisciplinary, trans-science contexts to address multifaceted development challenges and engender mutual and transformational learning. Integrating social science and co-framing and co-producing the science communication and PLUS agenda will stimulate and support innovation and enhance inclusion.
  • Effective joint leadership and control by local actors (governments, civil society and community-based organizations) as well as international groups. The utilisation of participatory approaches to determining and achieving alternative, empowering and inclusive visions of a scientifically literate society. Building consensus on directions and mechanisms of progress and development in ways that include marginalized and non-scientific views and voices is a key challenge. Science communication and science and society strategies that are based on good-quality and appropriate community engagement are the key to achieving development goals.
  • An emphasis on the long-term sustainability of initiatives, such as training a new generation of multidisciplinary science communicators and journalists to work for and with their fellow citizens to communicate the pivotal role of science in sustainable development and the betterment of societies, in an inclusive and empowering dynamic.

IMPACTS

Since its inception in 2014, African Gong has achieved the following impacts, strategic partnership developments and a growing pan-African and international foot-print evidenced by the following initiatives, programmes and activities:

UNESCO

African Gong was Invited by UNESCO to represent the African Region at the Launch of the Inaugural World Science Day for Peace and Development – International Science Centres’ and Science Museums’ Day (ISCSMD), 10th November 2016, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. This platform is UNESCO’s Call to Action to Science Centres and Science Museums, to highlight  contributions of science centres and science museums to the delivery of the SDG’s. Read More

The Lagos Declaration and Call to Action on Science Communication and PLUS in Africa.

The leadership of African Gong in the co-delivery of the 2nd African Conference on EID and Biosecurity in partnership with GET, which took place in Lagos, Nigeria, in July 2016, has produced the Consensus statement and a key outcome document, entitled, The Lagos Declaration and Call to Action on Science Communication and PLUS in Africa. This seminal and ground-breaking document, the first of its kind in Africa, is a strategic, inclusive and empowering exhortation to all African scientists, researchers, academics and policy-makers, in Universities, Research Institutions, public and private sectors, and in the African Diaspora, to mobilise action, resources, policy development, programmes and capacity-building for the delivery of innovative, African-centric, culturally and locally relevant and contextualised science communication and the public learning and understanding of science (PLUS) for African publics. Read More.

Gender Equality – Women In STEM

Access to STEM for women on an equal basis with men is necessary to transfer patterns of productivity, contribute to job creation and new ways of working and in promoting the establishment of a knowledge-based society resulting in wealth creation. Access by women to STEM also has the potential to positively contribute to improving the quality of life of women and men in African societies and communities.

The full and effective participation of women in the decision-making and implementation processes related to STEM including planning and setting priorities for research and development and the choice, acquisition, adaptation, innovation and application of STEM for development, aptly captures the essence of the prerequisites for delivering gender equality for women and men in the scientific enterprise.

The challenge that the African continent faces in this century is to turn these noble aspirations into actions.

Within the African context, the key determinants and drivers of women’s advancement in STEM fields and leadership in Higher Education have been premised on the challenges of growing and sustaining the critical mass of African women in academia and research to the senior levels that would lead on to management positions in the sector.

Vocational and polytechnic institutes in African countries are also critical key sites for capacity development of women in STEM. Technologists, technicians, artisans and craftspeople are the bedrock on which small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses are founded, especially in operations and maintenance.

Given the above scenarios and imperatives, African Gong has worked on two fronts to contribute to developments in the Women in STEM agenda:

  • African Gong has contributed its unique African-centric expertise, voice, experiences, good practices and understandings to Africa- based and international Advocacy platforms, Conferences, Summits, Transformative programmes, etc., targeted at the advancement of Women in STEM, on the African continent and globally. Read More
  • There is a trend globally to create structures within the STEM domain that specifically address and advise on mechanisms to enhance the contribution of women in improving the quality of life and increasing the overall wealth of a nation. In line with these international good practice developments, African Gong has Co-initiated and delivered, in partnership with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Women Advancement Forum: International Exchanges, Research & Academia (WAFIRA) Programme, from 2014-2018. African Gong has since taken over the sole co-ordination and delivery of the WAFIRA programme from 2019 onwards. Read More.

The Imagine Pangea Competition

African Gong has partnered with three science communication organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean to conceptualise and deliver the Imagine-Pangea Africa-Latin America Science Communication Competition, which was launched in 2017, and targeted at Masters’ and PhD students in African, Latin American and Caribbean Institutions, across the scientific disciplines – natural, life and physical sciences and the social sciences and humanities. The partner organisations are: The Imagine Project based in Brazil, Red-POP – the Latin American and Caribbean sister organisation to African Gong; and Brazilian Association for the Advancement of Science (SBPC). The Imagine-Pangea initiative uniquely advances language diversity and inclusion such that the candidates need to present their research work in one of the following languages: English, French, Portuguese or Spanish.
The winners then have their videos translated into more than ten languages, including indigenous ones, such as Guarani, Quechua and Yoruba. The unique good practice of the Imagine-Pangea programme has been featured in prestigious journals, such as the Nature Scientific Journal. Read More.

Partnerships

A key component of the African Gong tool-kit is to operate through strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and institutions in Africa, and internationally, including the African Diaspora. These partnerships are a strategic demonstration of African Gong’s commitment to its African-centric vision and mission of harnessing and leveraging the visibility, agency and capacity of African institutions and practitioners for the advancement of science communication, scientific outreach and scientific literacy in Africa. In this regard, African Gong has formalised working partnerships via Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)’s, with the following organisations:

  • The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)-South Africa in May 2019. Read More.
  • Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) in June 2016. Read More.

International Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Science Communication

African Gong has been an active member of the ever growing Ecsite Advocacy Group on Diversity, Equity and Social Inclusion, which is made up of Ecsite members committed to leading and driving innovation and transformation in their institutions on these critical inclusion parameters. The Group was formed as a direct outcome of the Keynote Address of the African Gong President, Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala, at the Ecsite Annual Conference in Graz, Austria, in 2016, and since then has been actively engaging to engender the institutionalisation of good practice across the field, in solidarity and collaborative partnerships. The Ecsite Advocacy Group has also been convening the Pre-Conference full day training Workshops at the Ecsite Annual Conferences, and has delivered these at the 2017 Conference in Porto, the 2018 Conference in Geneva, and in 2019, at the Ecsite Annual Conference, in Copenhagen.

African Gong has been a Co-Convenor of these Pre-Conference Training Workshops, delivered as part of the Ecsite Annual Conferences.

African STI Policy Development for Science Communication

African Gong has been invited to contribute to key STI policy-making platforms on the African continent, such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, where it has advocated for STI and Science Communication to be included in the APRM National Assessment Frameworks for Governance and Development. African Gong has also contributed to the development of Monitoring & Evaluation Frameworks for Science Communication, in the African Union Commission’s STISA-2024 road-map for African development. Read More

International & African Advocacy for Science Communication

African Gong has been invited to contribute its uniquely African-centric advocacy, perspectives and good practice to various international Conferences and events and thus, has engendered inclusive global discourses and outcomes in the growing foot-print and development of the science communication field across the world. Read More.

International Science Communication Award

The NAT AWARD 2019

The African Gong President – Dr. Elizabeth Rasekoala has been honoured with an international science communication award, in recognition of her long-standing work in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in science communication globally. Dr. Rasekoala was conferred with The NAT AWARD by the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona, in Barcelona, Spain, on the 12 June 2019. This is a highly prestigious international recognition also for African Gong, and its work in the development of these good practices in science communication across the African continent, and globally. Read More

Publications & Media

The good practice advocacy and unique transformation/capacity-building programmes of African Gong are engendering a growing recognition in the media and relevant press outlets, in the print media, online media, and on social media platforms. Read More.

In addition, African Gong has contributed Chapters in the following seminal Books:

  • Rasekoala, E. & African Gong (2019). ‘Public Health Emergencies: The Role of Science Education and Communication in Africa’. In G.B. Tangwa, A. Abayomi, S.J. Ujewe and N. S. Munung (Eds), Socio-cultural Dimensions of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa. Springer Press.
  • Rasekoala, E. & African Gong (2015). “Science communication in a post-2015 world: the nexus of transnational, multidisciplinary and sociocultural contexts.” In B. Schiele, J. Le Marec & P. Baranger (Eds), Science Communication Today – 2015: Current strategies and means of action, 39-45. Universitaires De Lorraine.

PARTNERSHIPS

A key component of the African Gong tool-kit is to operate through strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and institutions in Africa, and internationally, including the African Diaspora. These partnerships are a strategic demonstration of African Gong’s commitment to its African-centric vision and mission of harnessing and leveraging the visibility, agency and capacity of African institutions and practitioners for the advancement of science communication, scientific outreach and scientific literacy in Africa. In this regard, African Gong has formalised working partnerships via Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)’s, with the following organisations:

  • The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)-South Africa in May 2019. Read More.
  • Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) in June 2016. Read More.