If you only have 30 seconds: In addition to our outreach programme to engage the public in science education, we also engage with governments, businesses and other non-profit organisations. We exchange ideas with their representatives to bring together multiple viewpoints on common issues, such as investment in the education system, research infrastructure and publicly funded media channels to better understand how we can help. In turn, we advise decision makers based on our experience in the field. We defend the position that there is no better investment than the one made in education and scientific research.
Pushing government investment in science education and research
Developmental work should be done by demand, in particular as “imposed help” can often doing more damage than good. For our work it is therefore important to engage in active dialogue with local leaders and decision makers as to what the realities are on the ground, and how aid should be directed. Here, we carefully listen to our partners as to the effectiveness of our and other organisation’s approaches, and what they suggest should be done. In return, we act in an advisory capacity, presenting our experiences of working in different regions of the continent and worldwide. For example, the penetration of Open Source Hardware solutions or approaches in Bioinformatics for scientific research, while pervasive in the West, are only beginning to show their face in some regions of the African continent. Similarly, the use of fruit flies as a powerful yet cost-effective model system in biomedical research is only slowly being recognised as a real alternative to the traditional work on rodents in African labs. We therefore present these possibilities to government officials and other local decision makers at every opportunity in hope strengthen also the institutional support for these endeavours. Similarly, whenever possible we also try to catalyse local collaborations, between different universities, companies and other NGOs to foster local networks of expertise.
Nevertheless, we remain an organisation that likes more “doing” and being on the ground rather than talking how one could solve problems in theory. We like to get our hands dirty, which is why most of our efforts and funds are dedicated to active projects.
Why it is important