Just over a year and a few months ago I moved to a small town in the northern provinces of Mozambique to support my wife in her work in community development and water and sanitation. I went with a willingness to help out where I could, but with no real background in development, what was there to do for a research scientist in rural Africa?
It was with great pleasure that I ‘virtually’ attended the second Planet Earth Institute #ScienceAfrica Unconference on the 18th November. From following on Twitter it seemed like an excellent day with good discussions and presentations. Since last year’s Unconference I have moved to Mozambique. In 9 months I have seen extreme rural areas and big cities and experienced the lives of Mozambicans that live there. It is with this experience that I came to the second Unconference – with thoughts on some of the unique challenges that a campaign like #ScienceAfrica faces.
Continue reading “#ScienceAfrica Unconference 2014 – reaching the whole spectrum of society”
As I said in my last post, the Planet Earth Institute asked me to write a second piece after my write-up of the #ScienceAfrica UnConference. Because of my background in research, science communication and now science education (and because of the expertise of my wife, Joanne, in development; she works as a water and sanitation engineer for WaterAid), they asked me to write a bit more on the question with which I ended my conference write-up.
The question was:
how do you communicate that idea [the benefit of science] to the many many people who still live hand to mouth?
My piece was published today on the Planet Earth Institute website. I discussed the importance of primary and secondary education, of making science relevant and interesting to all ages, and of how a failure in teaching training will undermine any plans to improve science education at the school level. I know I’m not an expert on the issue so I have to thank Derek Fish of Unizul Science Centre and my wife for their input. I hope I at least started a conversation and I hope you enjoy it.
In case you wanted to find out a bit more about the Africa’s Scientific Independence conference, the Planet Earth Institute made a Prezi of points and pictures from the day (I’m even in one of the photos!). Catch it on the prezi website.
Watch this space for further articles on science/science communication/science education in the developing world. The Planet Earth Institute invited me to write a piece on these topics which will be posted on their website later this week.
The 11th July saw Africa’s Scientific Independence, a day-long ‘Unconference’ run by the Planet Earth Institute, at the Hub Westminster. Chaired by Lord Boateng and featuring a number of senior scientists and policy makers in the UK and all over Africa, the event tried to get to grips with a rather large question of how we get to Scientific Independence in Africa.