Virtual Pan-African science journalists event to be held this week

By Lyn Oyugi*

Science journalists from 30 African countries will participate in a virtual pre-conference being organised by a media association and a leading conservation organization in Kenya.

For one to participate in the event, registration must be done in advance at

According to the Chairperson of the Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA), Ms Violet Otindo, the network, which has a large foot print in African science journalism, is partnering with the World Wildlife Fund – Kenya to bring together nearly 200 journalists from African and beyond to discuss conservation, climate change, agriculture and health.   

The pre-conference which runs from Thursday, September 10 to September 11, 2020 will be a test run to the main conference (Fourth African Conference of Science Journalists) due from Nov 16 to 19, 2020 in Kisumu, Kenya. It seeks, among other things, to bolster science journalism to facilitate factual reporting, using the pandemic and resulting “infodemic” as a case in point.

Besides, it aims to empower science journalists with tips and tools to carry out factual investigative stories. Journalists are also expected to use the platform to identify opportunities and threats to science journalism in a post COVID-19 world.

 It will also provide a valuable and unique opportunity for various partners and organisations to maximisetheir investments towards improving science journalism in Africa in the aftermath of COVID-19. 

Speakers will cover the following topics:

  • Conservation and Climate Change: Is the world neglecting climate change for Covid-19? By Luther Anukur, the IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
  • Conservation: An SOS for Nature and People by Nancy Githaiga – Head of Conservation Programmes, WWF-Kenya.
  • Agriculture: Status on development and commercialization of transgenic TELA maize for African farmers. By Dr Sylvester Oikeh, AATF
  • Agriculture: The place of biopesticides in pest control in Africa. By Dr Sevgan Subramanian, icipe
  • Health: Pandemic preparedness and response: Investing in infection prevention and control by Dr Evelyn Wesangula, Ministry of Health, Kenya
  • Animal Health: New livestock vaccines in Kenya by Dr Jane Wachira, Director, Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI)
  • Mobility vaccine: How walking and cycling reaps benefits during COVID-19 and after – for environment, air quality and road safety. By Ms Carly Koinange, Global Programme Lead – Share the Road Programme, UNEP.
  • Health: The need for an African led research for COVID-19 by Dr Borna Nyaoke, Senior Project Manager, Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
  • Health: Wound management as a concern to the medical fraternity will also be discussed.

*MESHA is a not-for-profit membership association that champions the interests of science journalists in Kenya and Africa. For more inquiry, one can get in touch with the organisers at

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