Science Blogging in Sub-Saharan Africa
Blogging has become an integral part of popular culture in Sub-Saharan Africa but blogging about science is still lagging behind. Many initiatives have been launched to increase the culture of sharing in the African scientific world, yet African science blogs, particularly about research, are still few and far between.
The reason for this dearth of science blogging may be related to the uneven development of scientific research on the continent; the need for more research is well-known.
The level of development reached by Southeast Asia should push African nations to invest into science and technology; science and technology are the only way to avoid the enduring shortcomings of Africa in international trade; it is also the only way to prevent racism and xenophobia in this increasingly inegalitarian world; the one remedy to assert African contribution to the global human knowledge pool.
The continent is not short on talented scientists. Bernard Kom lists a few of the mosts prominent African scientists right now, and some of them are also active on the web.
Jacques Bonjawo is a Cameroonian engineer who chairs the Board of Directors of the African Virtual University (AVU). He explains that the AVU was conceived as a complete remote online teaching institute whose mission is to train a critical mass of Africans at low cost through economy of scale. We provide a modern quality curriculum that aims to make the student immediately operational for the job market.
Mzamose Gondwe from Malawi recognizes the need to promote more African engagement with science. That is the objective of her blog, African Science Heroes. She explains what she aims to accomplish:
I documented in print, exhibition and film African Science Heroes, Afrrican scientists who have made considerable contributions to science. In this way I hope to generate a sense of pride in our African science accomplishments and promote public engagement with science.
When scientific news from Africa makes it to mainstream media platforms, it is usually related to environmental programmes, public health or research on exotic animals. A typical story that was shared many times on various online media was the recent research publication of the mating habits of the female gray mouse lemur in Madagascar. The title itself, “Costly sex under female control in a promiscuous primate”, was bound to draw quite a bit of interest from the non-scientific community.
As it turned out, the study draws interesting conclusion about strategy for the survival of the species as Sara Reardon from Science NOW explained.
Madagascar is accustomed to have its lemur population draw more headlines that its people. However, it should not go unnoticed that the scientific blogging community there is starting to emerge. Several projects aim to collect and make available to the public all the scientific resources about the country.
To build the necessary scientific culture of tomorrow, science must strive to become more multidisciplinary. It must be accessible to science amateurs, the general public, the research scientists.