Crop Biotech Update

Ethiopian Women in Biosciences Trained on Science Communication

May 22, 2019

Ethiopian women scientists have identified effective science communication as key to stimulating informed pro-science policy decisions and public trust. This came up during Ethiopia's inaugural women for bioscience communication training held in Addis Ababa on May 8-9, 2019.

While opening the two-day workshop, Dr. Kassahun Tesfaye, Director General, Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute (EBTi), stressed on the role effective communication plays in galvanizing public acceptance of biotech products. "Without appropriate communication strategies, diffusion of safe biotech products and development would be difficult, leading to huge opportunity costs to society," remarked Dr. Kassahun.

Participants learned the importance of simplifying scientific terminologies when communicating with non-technical audiences, effective media engagement strategies and stakeholder mapping. Dr. Margaret Karembu, Director of ISAAA AfriCenter, challenged the participants to tell stories about what they do and not to let others miscommunicate their work. "The world is being run through storytelling and science has become an exciting story. However, most African scientists have sat back and allowed others to tell the African science story," This, she noted has given room for misrepresentation of scientific facts and miscommunication, further widening the gap between science and society.

Dr. Mestawet Taye, researcher from Hawassa University, Ethiopia, commended the training citing a myriad of challenges that scientists face when communicating. "I am very happy to be part of this training. Before, I had many challenges communicating my research to policy makers and engaging the media. The skills acquired from this training will help me engage different stakeholders better for my work to benefit our communities." Mestawet stressed.

The training was part of a concerted effort by African Women for Biosciences (AWfB), ISAAA AfriCenter and EBTi, to equip Ethiopian women in biosciences with communication skills to translate ongoing bioscience initiatives into viable enterprises for building a vibrant bioeconomy.

For more information on the training, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu at mkarembu@isaaa.org.