About 50 students and faculty members of Njala University in Sierra Leone have benefitted from a day’s training on Community Science facilitated by Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA), Ghana-based NGO which supports West African communities facing threats to their human rights at the hands of multinational corporations.

The primary goal of the training was to introduce the participants to the concept of community science so they could practice it in communities they find themselves.

ACA’s Science Lead, Dr Kwabina Ibrahim, introduced the concept of community science to the participants during which he explained the various relevant aspects of the concept, especially with regards to the involvement community members in the design of sampling protocols, the need to discuss and present technical data to communities, and the importance of validating results with local communities to ensure accuracy and uptake.

He expressed his organization’s commitment to collaborating with scientists to assist communities with scientific knowledge.

“Community participation in the production of scientific knowledge about their land, soil, and water is key to ensuring that they are in control of their own future, especially when they come under threat from extractive activities,” said Dr. Ibrahim.  “ACA is thankful to the students and staff of the Njala University for helping to ensure that young scientists are prepared to involve communities in their fieldwork.”

In his remarks, the Head of the Chemistry Department, Dr. Yahaya Kudush Kawa, expressed his appreciation to ACA for the training which, according to him, has enhanced the capacity of the participants as scientists, adding that it will go a long way to enable them to initiate their own community science projects in future.

Dr Kawa was of the view that the training would greatly enrich research activities of the university, going forward, and appealed to ACA to routinely hold such sessions in the university owing to its enormous benefits to the students.

Professor Juana Paul Moiwo, the Director of Research of Njala University, who assisted in moderating the training session, described ACA’s Community Science concept as “science for everybody” saying: “it allows both professional scientists and community members to work together for the good of the community.”

He was also of the view that this concept is an opportunity for scientists to collaborate with communities to enhance their research works, especially with regards to making their research findings acceptable to community.

Some participants, who shared their views about the training were very excited about content and acknowledged that it had greatly enhanced their knowledge in community science.