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TRAINING: Ifakara builds science communication capacity

Sept. 25, 2020
TRAINING: Ifakara builds science communication capacity
Lead training facilitator Bilal Aziz Mpembamoto clarifies a point when giving instructions in one of the training sessions. PHOTO | Joseph Madata/IHIcoms

Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) has trained its researchers in science communication to improve their skills for engaging with the general public through the mainstream media. The Institute’s Training Center at Kingani area in Bagamoyo hosted the five-day intensive theoretical and practical training from September 21-25, 2020.

Head of the Training & Capacity Building Unit at IHI, Dr. Kafuruki Shubis, says that, the targeted training was conducted to implement the Institute’s strategic objective of strengthening engagement with key stakeholders.

“The strategic objective, among other things, aims to improve policy dialogue and advocacy. Scientists are an important group in the IHI family who need science communication training to effectively engage with stakeholders through the media of recording,” he says, adding:

“As a vibrant Institute with great impact in society, IHI needs scientists who do not shy away from the camera and the media, but play a role in upholding the core value of ‘Transparency’ by engaging confidently and effectively at any time when given the opportunity to share scientific work, results or information.”

IHI Senior Communication Officer Bilal Aziz says the training is designed to give the participants an overview of the basics for facing the camera on the record; introduce them to the basic writing - for communication - skills; and guide them how best they could manage the different kinds of media interviews.

“The training covers topics that will give the participants the theoretical and practical skills for writing effective copy in a lay language and introduce them to the necessary skills for managing mass media interviews or respond to media inquiries at any time, including when they are or the Institute faces a crisis,” he says.

Bilal was the lead trainer. Other trainers were: former TV personality and long-time mass communication trainer, Allan Lawa; active health reporter at Mwananchi Communications Limited Herieth Makwetta; Senior Journalist (Health) and Presenter at Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) Agnes Mbapu; and Senior Research Scientist and seasoned science communication writer, Dr. Frederick Haraka.

Earlier, when giving remarks to officially open the training, IHI Chief Executive Director Dr. Honorati Masanja reminds that the Institute’s core activity continues to be research, however development of human capacity within and beyond the institute has always been valued and is recognized as an essential component of innovation and institutional growth. “Ifakara has become a major catalyst for the development of high-level expertise, complimented by strong investment in Master’s level education and practical research training,” he says. #