The National Science and Technology Council(NSTC) is proud to announce that a local non-profit organization Dziwa Science and Technology Trust (DSaT) aimed at promoting science communication is a recipient of the COVID -19 Africa Rapid Fund in Science Journalism for its project entitled “The COVID 19: Linking Science Society to Better Lives (COVID 19: LinkSS)”. The Trust has received USD $ 19,782 for the project to run for 18 months.

As one of the key undertakings in its collaboration with the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) publicised the Call for project proposals in the country. The National Research Foundation (NRF), supported by South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI); Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC); the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FRQ); the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO); United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Newton Fund; and the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) participating Councils (NSTC is a member of SGCI) have collaborated and are funding this initiative, which was conceptualised under the auspices of the SGCI.

A total of 80 projects across 17 African countries have been selected for funding under the COVID-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund, which was launched in May 2020. Projects are supported across three strands: 41 in research; 39 in science engagement (five in science advice, 34 in science journalism).

The projects in science Journalism will address topics such as exploring the role and effectiveness of the media in the dissemination of information and misinformation; developing effective communication strategies to counter COVID-19 misinformation; exploring how misinformation spreads; and methods to alleviate the fear generated by misinformation.

Announcing the successful project in science journalism, NSTC Acting Executive Secretary Mr. Filipo Zulu expressed happiness with the development saying the multilateral and bilateral collaborations that NSTC has entered into with various organisations on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia in the areas Science, Technology and Innovation are bearing fruit and benefiting organisations in the science enterprise who are complimenting governments efforts in promoting Science, Technology and Innovation(STI) which is a key driver of socio – economic development.

Mr Zulu said Dziwa Science and Technology Trust will assist in demystifying conspiracy theories around COVID -19 in the country and provide the public with evidence-based information regarding the COVID -19 Pandemic.

And Dziwa Science and Technology Trust Executive Director Mrs Veronica Mwaba who is also the Principal Investigator(PI) for the project says the Linking Science Society to Better Lives (COVID-19: LinkSS) project will bring together, researchers, media, academia, NGO’s, public and private sector to highlight the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, scientific research and its relevance to society. She thanked NSTC for taking a lead role to support researchers and other science based institutions in fostering local innovations in line with the National Policy on Science and Technology which was recently launched by Government.

ABOUT THE NSTC

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), established by the Science and Technology Act No. 26 of 1997, is a statutory body through which the Zambian Government directs policy in the development and application of Science and Technology in the country. The overall objective of the Council is to promote science and technology development so as to create wealth and improve the quality of life in Zambia.

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