We are excited to announce that a Science Communication Forum (SCiCOM-FORUM) has been established. This was in response to a GMO 101 Course for journalists and science communicators that was held February 1-3 at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS). During the Course both the journalists, science communicators and the scientists expressed a commitment to work towards continuous engagement, partnerships and common approaches that provide better understanding on GMOs, their regulation and on emerging biotechnologies which include gene drives/editing and synthetic biology techniques.
Forum for Science Communicators (SCiCOM- FORUM) aims to provide a platform for interaction among Journalists and Scientists to enhance opportunities for knowledge exchange and deliberation on issues related to genetic biocontrol technologies.
The African Genetic Biocontrol Consortium is an agreement established by not-for-profit member organizations based in Africa with a vision to build an informed local leadership to support the requirements for development, decision-making and on the utility of genetic biocontrol technologies for animal, public health, and conservation in Africa.
SCICOM- FORUM works to:
- To provide a platform form scientists, Journalists and Science Communicators to interact and to learn from each other.
- To help Journalists, science communicators as well as scientists, researchers, and developers to overcome some of the challenges they face during communicating, interpreting, and breaking down the science to make it consumable to the public.
- Ensure that GMO research is better understood by journalists, so they can report accurately and in context; and
- To coordinate journalists with scientists for interview on GMO and related fields.
- To promote and advocate for increase in funding at national and regional levels towards training journalists and science communicators with a focus on existing and emerging biotechnologies.
- To work towards enhancing public participation, biosafety communication, awareness, and sensitization programs on GMO issues among various stakeholders.
A list of issue areas we address includes, but is not limited to:
- Biotechnology and genetic engineering
- Development and governance of GMOs and related topics
- Emerging biotechnologies which include gene drives/editing and synthetic biology
- Risk assessment and decision-making process for GMOs and emerging technologies.
- Biosafety frameworks and
- What are GMOs and how are they made?
- How are GMOs governed?
- What are the procedures for registration, testing and monitoring of GMOs in the market?
- What are gene drives, gene editing and synthetic biology?
- The ethics of science reporting?
- Where to get reliable information
The Forum is open to all interested journalists, science communicators, scientists affiliated bodies and partners, but will be particularly useful for those in communications-related roles – managing social media and websites, writing blogs and press releases, producing multimedia content, working with press, and doing other similar work.
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SCICOM COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Gerald Andae – NTV
Wangari Ndirangu – Kenya News Agency
Zeynab Wandati – NTV
Stanley Bore – Kass Media
Agatha Ngotho – The star newspaper