× Home Projects Partners Special Events FAQs Contacts

TRAINING - Ifakara, partners host “bridging science and journalism workshop”

Feb. 20, 2024 9:00
TRAINING - Ifakara, partners host “bridging science and journalism workshop”
Journalists engaged in a group discussion during the workshop. Photo credit: Ifakara Communications

In an initiative aimed at fostering collaboration between science and journalism, Ifakara Health Institute, in partnership with stakeholders through the Helminth Elimination Platform (HELP), hosted a transformative three-day workshop on Science and Journalism. 

Under the theme "Science Reporting for the Public," the workshop is set to elevate the standards of science communication while enhancing public understanding of scientific endeavors.

The workshop, which the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) – Eastern Africa facilitates, took place in Bagamoyo, Tanzania from February 20-22, 2024. 

Workshop’s participants

Training workshop participants include 15 researchers from Ifakara Health Institute, the Bagamoyo District NTD team, and Tanzania's Ministry of Health. There will be a separate session for 15 journalists representing different media outlets in Tanzania. 

On the third day of the workshop, there will be a panel discussion that will feature speakers from the University of Basel, Cantonal Government Basel, The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Novartis Global Health, and the HELP consortium.

Key objectives of the workshop

The workshop's overarching objective is to empower scientists and journalists with a robust foundation for communicating science with the policy makers and the public. Participants will be equipped with practical tools and techniques essential for deciphering scientific data and articulating complex information into compelling narratives that resonate with the public.

Central to the workshop's ethos is the facilitation of meaningful dialogue between journalists and scientists, fostering mutual understanding, trust, and collaboration. By nurturing synergies between these two pivotal domains, the workshop aims to cultivate a culture of effective science communication, ultimately enhancing public engagement and awareness on critical scientific issues.

Journalists think science 

On the second day, journalists from various outlets in Tanzania joined the workshop. They represented prominent media outlets in Tanzania and the region – EATV, Clouds, TVE/EFM, The East African, TBC, 

Daily News, Nipashe, Mwananchi, ITV/Radio One, The Guardian, The Citizen, ResearchCom and Pambazuko FM.  

The session kicked off with insightful presentations by DNDi and SwissTPH, shedding light on the significance of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and emphasizing the crucial role journalists could play in promoting awareness.

The day then transitioned into a dynamic and hands-on experience, as participants engaged in practical exercises focused on mastering the skill of crafting compelling and newsworthy stories around scientific research.

This interactive approach not only enriched their understanding of science but also equipped them with the tools to effectively communicate complex ideas to the public. 

Collaboration in action

The workshop's concluding day successfully united scientists and journalists, providing an opportunity for shared experiences. The media gained firsthand insights into Ifakara's impactful work by participating in a comprehensive tour of the biomedical research and clinical trials facilities and laboratories in Kingani, Bagamoyo.

A unique element of the day was the "speed dating" approach, where journalists had two minutes to engage with each scientist, fostering connections in a way that has never been done before.

Engagement with high-level delegation 

Ifakara had the honor of hosting a distinguished delegation from Switzerland, who toured the Institute's research and training facilities in the Kingani area of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, before interacting with journalists. Learn more about this visit here.

Journalists gained valuable insights into the long standing  relationship between Switzerland and Tanzania, and the opportunities that this relationship offers in terms of scholarships for various career advancement opportunities. 

Understanding public health 

Journalists received firsthand accounts from the international delegation regarding the challenges encountered in public health, along with insights into potential solutions.

Dr. Honorati Masanja highlighted the critical challenges prevalent not only in Tanzania but globally within the realm of public health. Issues such as climate change, antimicrobial resistance, and emergency preparedness were emphasized. These pressing concerns serve as compelling topics for journalists, inspiring them to delve into these subjects and craft newsworthy stories.

The intersection of education and healthcare was also discussed, emphasizing the pivotal role journalists play in raising awareness and influencing decision-making. Lutz Hegemann, President of Global Health & Sustainability at Novartis, highlighted the collaboration's significance in supporting the development of countries.