Civil Society Organisations in Conversation with Science
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) hosted a stakeholder engagement webinar with NGOs/Civil Society Organisations on 15 March 2021. The title of the webinar was Civil Society Organisations in Conversation with Science: Synergies aimed at addressing developmental challenges for the societies we serve.
The objective of this webinar was to establish and enhance engagements between civil society organisations and ASSAf with the aim of identifying avenues to address the various challenges that South African societies face daily.
An indispensable requirement that one should possess to inform or influence policy and promote development is access to evidence-based information. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have strong links with the communities at grassroots level. ASSAf has access to the country’s best scientists who offer their time to conduct studies which are used to provide science advice to government and society. This has been most evident during this time that the globe battles with COVID-19. The White Paper on Science Technology and Innovation (2019) emphasises on grassroots innovation which civil society organisations are exposed to all the time in communities across South Africa. Civil society organisations besides community development work, conduct local level and high-level advocacy which can benefit from the work of ASSAf. This demonstrates that ASSAf and civil society organisations can work together for mutual benefit and most importantly for the benefit of the South African population.
The session was facilitated by Dr Stanley Maphosa, ASSAf and the speakers comprised of Prof Igle Gledhill, University of the Witwatersrand (WITS), Dr Anthony Bouwer, National Development Agency (NDA), Ms Itumeleng Indiphile Mothlabane, Equal Education, Mr Vinayak Bhardwaj, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Dr Caradee Wright, Medical Research Council (MRC).