Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net
Women scientists in Kenya got a major boost yesterday when the government announced it would establish a grant which awards female scientists up to three million Kenyan shillings. The announcement was made during the opening ceremony of the ASJC in Nakuru.
The move will put women scientists on a par with their male counterparts, allowing them to conduct research of relevance to the country.
“Participation of women in research has been low in many developing countries,” said Moses Rugutt, deputy secretary of Kenya’s National Council of Science and Technology during the ASJC opening gala. “Negative social and cultural practices have not allowed full exploitation of their research potential.”
Rugutt noted that national development depends on a well-trained technical labour force, especially in science and technology.
“Kenya still lags behind in the technical human capacity required to unlock the huge potential within its agricultural fields and drive its industries,” he said.
Rugutt called for the need to lobby for at least one per cent GDP investment for Kenya to reap the full potential of science, technology and innovation (STI) for socio-economic development.
He challenged the science journalists attending the ASJC to help push the STI agenda to enable African countries to use science and technology as a platform to boost economic development.
According to Rugutt, there is a need to engage science journalists in effectively articulating STI issues by disseminating research information on STI, setting national and regional STI agendas and exposing scientific malpractice.
Many developing countries of the world have used STI to drive their development agenda based on sound research and innovative technological investment.
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.