Science Café‘s at MLW
A Science café is a lively event where scientists get to meet the general public to discuss different current science topics. Anyone can attend a science cafe and they usually take place in relaxed settings like pubs, coffeehouses, restaurants and other informal venues.
In 2009, MLW adopted the idea and has since successfully hosted four science café’s with major emphasis on health and medical research. We encourage our own researchers as well as other medics from different organisations to take part in either speaking or organising our cafes. Some of the organisations we’ve worked with in the past include: Malaria Alert Centre, College of Medicine, Malawi Medical Journal, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Lawyers as well as Medical Rights groups to present the following topics:
Community Advisory Groups (CAG)
Community Advisory Group (CAG) exists as a community representative group established to present the perspectives of the community on MLW research in order to ensure informed consent/ethical, means to minimize adverse responses to research and ensure a sustainable communication flow between MLW studies and its participant communities.
MLW has so far established CAG’s in three of its major research sites in Chikwawa, Mangochi and Blantyre.
Staff Forums are there to encourage information sharing among staff especially scientists and non-scientists. The Forums are organised after every 3- 4months and tend to be informal and simple so that everyone is able to follow the discussions across different levels.
The Science Communication Department also plays the role of moderator at such gatherings.
As we continue to be dedicated to public engagement, we recently been awarded a grant by the Wellcome Trust UK to create a participative exhibition that explores research through the eyes of the researcher, doctor, patient and participant.
The aim of this exciting one of a kind project is to promote knowledge of MLW research and awareness of health in general. The exhibition will also provide a platform for the dissemination of research findings and twill create both fixed and mobile educational resources, which address both health and disease.
The primary target audience for this project are schools and study participants and the secondary target audience are other health service staff, the general public and other health institutions. At the moment there is no science museum in Malawi and we are excited to contribute something unique and be part of history making. This project will also link us with different organisations locally as well as internationally hence forming useful networks.