[Interview] Joy Owango, Executive Director, Training Centre in Communication, Kenya
19-02-2020 08:08:53 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 7823 | Tags:

Training Centre in Communication  is a centre that works with researchers, research institutes  and governments in Sub Sahara Africa to produce  and improve  their research output and  visibility.

The organization’s Executive Director Joy Owango talked to Africa Business Communities about its model, ambitions and the current state of higher education  and research in Sub Saharan Africa.

Introduce Training Centre in Communication?

The   Training Centre in Communication   is  a self sustainable 14 year old not-for-profit organization  in partnership with University of Nairobi.

We are a centre that supports researchers, research institutes  and governments in Sub Sahara Africa on how they can produce  and improve  their research output and  visibility. This is done through training .  In essence  universities  and research institutes  should be doing this, but the administrative dynamics , make it difficult for them to do so effectively. Our objective is to Train. Support. researchers as the capacity to communicate with peers  and non peers, gives them a competitive edge to  increase their collaboration, visibility and most importantly increase their funding pool. Our research capacity training comes  with free research  data , which, is extremely useful for the research discovery process for a  career researcher.

 What makes Training Centre in Communication different  from organisations or programmes that offer capacity support for  researchers?

There are programmes like ours that  exist, but they are donor funded  and the biggest challenge is that once the funding is completed  the project collapses. That is why we chose not to go through  the funding model , but a business  and self  sustainable approach to  managing  Training Centre in Communcation and our success story is that we have supported  over 3000 researchers at (MSc, PhD and Profs levels) in over 70 research institutes  in over 20 countries in Sub Sahara Africa.

You recently won  the Invest2Impact Award, kindly share with us more information about it?

This was a five country challenge and  we  competed against 800 companies in the region emerging as  the top 100 winners. The award looked at women run sustainable organisations in the region and we won in the higher education category.

What are the major activities you have been involved in the last two months.

We conducted a Science  Communication training for  senior researchers and gudied them on how they can translate  their  research papers into opinion editorials, features and news articles. They also learned on how they can work with  the media to increase their visibility.

Three weeks ago   we  were invited by the Government of  Malawi, to guide their Science Granting Council, through the Ministry of  Education Science  and Technology  on how to improve its research  and academic community’s output and visibility through Scientometrics (research metrics used in monitoring and evaluating research output).

We were later  invited  by the Ministry of  Higher Education Research and  Innovation, Senegal as  key higher education stakeholders in the Science  Granting  Councils  Meeting, which, brings together  African countries that have committed to spending 1% their GDP in higher education  research and innovation .

What is the current state of higher education  and research in Kenya and  Sub Saharan Africa?

 It is promising,  as  governments have committed  to spending at least one percent of their  GDP on higher education and research. So far 15 African countries  including Kenya have almost reached  this target and  have created  Science  Granting Councils, whose job is to provide funding , research support for the higher education and research sector.  This is where  we come in as a centre as  we support the research and academic communities in these respective countries through training and consultancy on ways to improve the of the quality of  research outputs(academic papers, presentations) and increase their visibility, through various research support solutions and  open access data.

In January  the UK Government released a report on its  drive to invest in Africa, particularly in the Higher Education Sector.  What  are your views on this?

 The higher education sector in Africa is maturing , if the  creation of the Science  Granting Councils is anything to go by.As  such, investment is welcome, however investors need  to be patient as  political economy in the region  may make the investment process slow. In this case investors, should be patient and  ready the ride the wave , that come with the challenges faced in Africa.

What are Training Centre in Communications’ plans  ambitions  for 2020.

Create more Global North-South partnerships, that will lead to  providing more open access data for researchers in Sub Sahara Africa, thus making their research discovery process easier  and making their work more visible, which, in turn  empower  academics on getting information that can give them a competitive edge with their peers in the Global North.

www.tcc-africa.org

www.twitter.com/tccafrica

 

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Africa Business Communities is conducting a series of interviews with CEOs & Business Founders in Africa. Do you fit the profile? Great! Send an e-mail to bas@africabusinesscommunities.com