AFRICA SCIENCE JOURNALISTS CONFERENCE, 2012
Welcome to Africa Science Journalists Conference, 2012!
On behalf of the Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA), the Internews in Kenya and my colleagues in the Conference Organising Committee, I welcome you to a town that started as a railway station on Kenyan-Uganda railway at the turn of the century. The name ‘Nakuru’ is derived from Nakurro, the Maasai word meaning a ‘dusty place’. Known for its flamingos and once dubbed “the cleanest town in East-Africa”, the town is located in an environmentally sensitive area. It is sandwiched between Lake Nakuru National Park to the south and the Menengai crater and its associated volcanic landscapes. Further to the North East of the town is the Bahati Escarpment forming the western fridge of the Aberdares Escarpment.
And the venue could not have been better – the Bontana Hotel – an ultra-modern tourist class hotel situated in one of Kenya’s fastest growing commercial towns, Nakuru.
Being in the heartland of the country’s bread-basket, Bontana Hotel is surrounded by some of the most scenic tourist attractions in the spectacular Rift Valley. The ultra-modern tourist hotel is indeed Nakuru’s newest sensation.
Set on a Serene location and within a walking distance from the town’s central business district Bontana Hotel is a haven for travellers either on business or on stop over to or from western Kenya, Uganda and beyond.
The conference aims to chart a way forward for reporting science in Africa. Events at the conference will centre on the need for effective networking information exchange between scientists, science institutions and journalists.
This continental event comes at a time when Africa continues to grapple with a myriad of developmental challenges despite significant advances in science and technology. An interesting question to ask is perhaps whether the communication component is at par in its basic task of communicating new information and also countering scepticism and superstition around science and technology. Countries world over are trying to answer this question too. Scientific knowledge is ever increasing by the day. How do we ensure that ordinary citizens keep up with the ever increasing complexity and be able to make informed decisions?
The conference will seek to tackle this problem with the help of the diverse number of participants who shall be attending. The culmination of it will be an African Declaration on Effective Science Communication seeking a binding commitment from African journalists, communicators and researchers to improving science writing in the continent.
The choice of speakers has been a rigorous process. Plenary speakers will compose of most accomplished and influential in science and science communication.
I want to thank all those involved in organizing the conference: The local Conference Organising Committee in Kenya and the sponsors for their generous support. The programme committee has done a wonderful job assembling the exciting list of speakers and the programme.
We look forward to an interactive, exciting, informative and memorable conference.
Violet Otindo, MESHA Chairperson