Concluding comments from delegates

Delegates at the Wellcome Trust meeting on “Science and Community – engage to empower,” have raved about the workshop, particularly in terms of networking, new ideas, and sharing of different perspectives. Greer van Zyl asked a few people what they thought of the meeting:

“The workshop has been highly interactive and exciting. There’s been lots of sharing – it’s been a very good opportunity to learn about what other people are doing, and to create good networks because there are lots of similar strands that people are doing. It’s been wonderful.” Obi Obyerodhyambo, Kenya

mary arber

Mary Arber, UK

“This was one of the most exciting meetings I’ve been to in terms of how many different people were here from countries. Based largely in the UK, it was a real eye-opener for me to discover how public engagement of science is viewed in Africa. Its refocused me how important it is to get communities on board – it can’t be top-down, it has to be grassroots to genuinely engage with people. What’s interesting here, and really different from the UK, is the physical sense of urgency in terms of engaging people with science. At home we treat it as a philosophical question – but here it matters; it’s life and death sometimes. Here there are real practical reasons why we should involve people in science.” Mary Arber, UK

“I have learnt a number of very good things during the workshop, particularly about engaging with communities, policy-makers and the media.” Rose Oranje, Kenya

Phan Son

Phan Son, Vietnam

“It’s been very interesting – I learnt a lot from other people and I will use this knowledge for developing my project in Vietnam in the future.” Phan Son, Vietnam

“This workshop has been an eye-opener. Public engagement is a buzz word that has never been unpacked the way it was done to its simplicity at this workshop. As the Africa Centre there’s a lot we’ve learnt even though we’ve been doing public engagement in a successful, sustainable manner. We’ll definitely put some of these ideas into practice to improve the way we engage with our communities and policy-makers who can gain a lot from our research.” Mbongiseni Buthelezi, South Africa

Mbongiseni Buthelezi

Mbongiseni Buthelezi, South Africa

“For me, because I’m not a scientist, it was very interesting to find out the scientist’s point of view and what they think about community engagement. We work differently at home and it was interesting to hear the different points of view about this work.” Javier Galeano, Colombia

“The value has been enormous, I’ve met people and made contacts; we’re setting up an African Science Centres café network and I’ve got good ideas about what I can go and introduce back home.” Muza Gondwe, Malawi

“Great networks! I loved the networking and the people I met. I’ve made lots of connections that I’m going to follow up, particularly with the science café movement.” Ruth Wanjala, Kenya

“What has been good for me is to know that other people are doing similar things to us and facing similar challenges – constantly on the lookout for new community engagement models. The benefit is getting creative ideas to deal with situations, and we can learn from what others are doing.” Mduduzi Mahlinza, South Africa

“It’s been a wonderful meeting, particularly the synergy between the different disciplines and the passion in our common interest which is public engagement, communication and dialogue. There are very few spaces where you can get scientists who are so genuinely committed to public engagement opportunities. I’ve been energised and inspired, and have many great ideas I hope to work with in the future.” Sheila Ochugboju, UK

“A bigger box of chocolates that I ever expected!” Wendy Graham, UK


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