Ebola Crisis: Improving Science-Based Communication and Local Journalism in Emergency and Post-outbreak Periods
The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) is leading a regional communications and training program for local journalists to improve science-based journalism in health emergencies during crisis and post-crisis periods. This project will provide support to promote and strengthen independent science and health journalism in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on countries affected by Ebola virus disease, or at risk of the disease. Journalism that educates and informs The program will strengthen mass media campaigns and counteract misinformation on Ebola virus disease transmission and control. WFSJ will develop and implement the program in collaboration with Fondation Hirondelle, various African associations of science journalists, and community radio associations in West, Central, and East Africa. The program will target Ebola-affected countries and neighbouring countries. Skills and tools to enhance science journalism The project will offer practical information tools, guidance, and mentoring to journalists working in rural or local radio. The project team will deliver a series of workshops in West African countries directly affected by the Ebola crisis. Participating journalists will receive an information toolbox to help them report on the outbreak. The goal is to enhance and sustain community engagement to ensure the success of control interventions until the end of the epidemic. The project team will develop training courses and regional workshops in partnership with various African associations of science journalists. These activities will help prepare for emerging and post-outbreak public health challenges with improved on-the-ground communication and journalism for health promotion and action. Research to inform learning Applied research will guide the training strategies and allow the project team to adapt them to the Ebola crisis as it evolves. They will assess the barriers and conditions needed to enhance information uptake and to improve communication on health and science in the region. As a long-term goal, the project aims to strengthen journalism associations in Africa through country and regional exchanges using a Web-based platform devoted to science and health journalism. This will help increase access to health knowledge and evidence, improve monitoring and reporting of priority health issues in the region, and link local journalists to the wider science and health journalism community.