28 November 2023, Kenya: SciDev.Net has provided a workshop in science communication at the 2023 Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) Annual Forum and the Global Research Council (GRC) Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Meeting in Mombasa, Kenya.
The aim of the Forum and Regional Meeting was for Science Granting Councils to engage with the global network of partners in academia, industry, civil society, government, and intergovernmental organisations.
It was an opportunity for science funding agencies on the continent to share experiences, advance good practices in granting, and evaluate the progress in implementing capacity strengthening and collaborative activities.
Harnessing the power of storytelling
Dr Charles Wendo, SciDev.Net’s training coordinator, delivered a science communication workshop on the topic “Harnessing the power of storytelling to enhance dissemination and research uptake of public funded research.” He gave scientists tips on how to make their research interesting and engaging to the public and policymakers through the process of storytelling.
The workshop was presented at the SGCI Academic Symposium as part of a session exploring training for researchers funded by SGCI. It was moderated by Dr Prudence Makhura, Director for Overseas Collaborative Grants and Initiatives at the National Research Foundation, South Africa.
In July, SciDev.Net – whose Script training programme provides training and networking resources for journalists and scientist to communicate science in an engaging and accurate way – partnered with the SGCI to deliver training to 18 Science Granting Councils in 17 countries.
As part of this arrangement, Dr Wendo delivered the workshop at the SGCI Annual Forum to help participants learn more about why it is important to communicate research to policymakers and the public as well as how to make this science understandable to a general audience.
Public policy that can benefit the world’s citizens
Dr Wendo said, “Scientists funded by Science Granting Councils across Africa are contributing some very important research in various disciplines but often their findings are not well communicated to the policymakers and the public.
“Storytelling is a powerful tool that can really humanize scientific research so that it is more easily understandable and relevant to people. As such, it can help influence policy and personal decisions that can enhance society.”
The SGCI is a multilateral initiative that was established in 2015 to strengthen the institutional capacities of public science funding agencies in sub-Saharan Africa.
This is to support research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to economic and social development.
Since its inception in 2018 at the Next Einstein Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, SciDev.Net’s Script has provided training to nearly 9,000 people either directly in person or online.
Featured courses, produced by Dr Wendo, include ‘Science communication skills for journalists,’ ‘Science communication skills for press officers’ and ‘Media skills for scientists.’
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