GreenSCENT at the inaugural conference on citizen science in Nairobi, Kenya.

GreenSCENT at the inaugural conference on citizen science in Nairobi, Kenya.

Andrea Falegnami (UNINETTUNO) – 20th of March 2024


CitSci Africa Association

It was with great enthusiasm and a profound sense of responsibility that I embarked on the opportunity to represent the GreenSCENT Project as an ambassador at the inaugural conference on citizen science in Africa, which took place in Nairobi on February 21 and 22. Hosted by the CitSci Africa Association, this pivotal event marked a significant milestone in the realm of citizen science, bringing together minds and hearts from across the globe to discuss, deliberate, and design pathways towards a sustainable future.

The conference, set against the backdrop of Nairobi’s vibrant cultural and natural heritage, served as a melting pot of ideas, innovations, and inspirations. Despite my participation being through a digital lens as a remote speaker, the warmth, engagement, and collective energy of the participants transcended geographical barriers, making me feel as connected and involved as those present on the ground.

The GreenSCENT Project, dedicated to fostering environmental literacy and promoting sustainable practices through citizen involvement, found a welcoming and aligned community among the attendees. The discussions were rich and varied, covering a range of topics from the role of technology in environmental monitoring to the power of community engagement in driving policy changes. It was an honor to share our experiences, challenges, and successes within the GreenSCENT framework, contributing our voice to the vibrant tapestry of initiatives aimed at safeguarding our planet.

One of the key aspects of the discussions was the emphasis on the transferability of the GreenSCENT project experience to future Africa-akin research projects. Considering the Nairobi conference’s focus on citizen science, it was imperative to highlight how the methodologies and strategies employed by GreenSCENT, particularly in engaging young people and pupils, can be adapted and applied to similar initiatives across the continent. This engagement model, rooted in education and participation, provides a robust framework for encouraging active involvement in environmental sustainability from an early age, fostering a generation that is not only aware of but also committed to combating climate change and environmental degradation.

The spirit of collaboration and mutual support that characterized the conference underscored the importance of cross-project learning and cooperation in the fight against environmental degradation. Our siblings projects, the AURORA Project and SOCIO-BEE, which share our dedication to environmental conservation and improving human well-being, received well-deserved attention and interest. This synergy highlighted the potential for leveraging the GreenSCENT approach to citizen science in broader contexts, reinforcing the notion that our collective efforts can significantly impact.

A heartfelt thank you is due to Martin Brocklehurst, Vangelis Kopsacheilis, Dilek Fraisl, and Ana Belén Cristóbal López. Their contributions were instrumental in weaving the fabric of this conference. Their profound dedication to fostering a global community of citizen scientists is truly commendable. Additionally, the efforts of Barbara Mukidza in coordinating and facilitating the event did not go unnoticed. Her hard work and commitment were the backbone of this successful gathering.

The first conference on citizen science in Africa was not just a meeting of minds but a beacon of hope and a call to action. It demonstrated the power of collective action and the pivotal role that citizen science can play in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time. As we move forward, let us carry the spirit of Nairobi with us, embracing collaboration, innovation, and a deep commitment to our planet and future generations. Together, we can and will make a difference.

GreenSCENT at the inaugural conference on citizen science in Nairobi, Kenya.
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