October 2015
Contents / home
Global science engagement project
National Science Week activities
Science breaks barriers
Hydrogen fuel cell technology
Science that no classroom can teach
SAASTA empowers community
New CEO takes over reins at NRF
Hydrogen awareness website
Work shadowing at SAIAB
Field school for students
Meet Dr Zikhona Tetana
Improving technology education
Weather stations in schools
Street science
Space science appreciation
International Year of Light
Monitoring river health
Sasol Techno X prizes
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

SAASTA empowers community media in Limpopo

In July 2015, SAASTA's Science Communication unit ran a series of highly successful science communication workshops for community media in Polokwane, Giyani and Phalaborwa.

The workshops formed part of a pilot project targeting three community radio stations and three community newspapers in Limpopo. SAASTA is hoping to implement the project countrywide next year.

The workshops, conducted by SAASTA staff members, covered various facets of science communication such as responsible sourcing and management of scientific information, the national system of innovation and science programmes at SAASTA such as nanotechnology and hydrogen.

SAASTA signed a memorandum of understanding with six community media houses in Limpopo in 2014
SAASTA Science Communication Editor, Joanne Riley (left), presents a workshop for community media in Limpopo

SAASTA Science Communication Editor, Joanne Riley, explained that "scientist don't always agree, don't always have the answer and can change their mind. However, it is important when writing an article to give a balanced interpretation. Science communication and information management consist of acquiring and organising information and disseminating it appropriately."

Riley emphasised that journalists should always check the credibility, authority and verifiability of internet-sourced resources and information.

Favourable response from community media

The workshops elicited a favourable response from the attendees. One of the delegates said the key take-home message was learning how important it is to verify scientific information before it is published. A delegate from Giyani Community Radio station applauded the workshop and said: "It gave me a better understanding of the importance of science and technology."

Taking science to all corners of SA

Science communication workshops for community media are a vital part of SAASTA's strategy to take science to people in all corners of South Africa. SAASTA has identified the community media (both print and radio) in rural areas as crucial media stakeholders and channels for the dissemination of science and technology information. The community media in rural areas constitute the communication lifeblood of communities. Not only do they serve as a source of entertainment and news, but, importantly, as a reliable stream of authoritative information affecting the people in their communities.

Consequently, SAASTA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with six community media houses in Limpopo in 2014. As part of the agreement, SAASTA committed itself to help build the necessary capacity within the community print and broadcast media to increase and enhance the communication of science information to their communities.

SAASTA moreover hopes to promote the use of indigenous languages to bring the science message to people in the deepest rural areas of South Africa.

Nolwazi Bengu, SAASTA