Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net
The first Africa Science Journalists Conference took off on a high note in Kenya’s Nakuru town, the scenic tourist attraction in the spectacular Rift Valley. On the first day, journalists visited various field sites to give them an insight into the work of research institutions within the town.
Journalists had the chance to see a Home-Based Testing and Counselling programme which operates door-to-door among the manyattas (Maasai houses). This project offers HIV testing within the Maasai community and is run by Liverpool VCT, a Kenyan NGO. Other tour sites included Egerton University’s agro-based science park and a project to increase rust resistance in wheat at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. Nakuru’s Nuru farm was also open to visitors, a former hospital dump which now produces 60 tonnes of fruit and vegetables a year.
Over the next four days, ASCJ 2012 will attempt to answer questions around communicating new information and countering scepticism, with talks such as ‘Using nonsense detectors: how journalists can expose bad science’; ‘Community based Interventions in Science’ and ‘Ethical issues in science journalism in the age of new media’.
The apex of the conference will be an African declaration on effective science communication, which will “seek a binding commitment from African journalists, communicators and researchers to improve science writing in the continent”.
With high hopes for this high-profile conference achieving its objectives, the SciDev.Net team attending the forum will keep you posted on the latest developments.
This blog post is part of our Africa Science Journalists Conference 2012 blog, which takes place 20-23 August in Nakuru, Kenya. To read news and analysis on science journalism please visit our website.