Andrew Mambondiyani is a journalist based in Zimbabwe with special interest in climate change, health and agriculture. His work has been published by BBC, Thomson Reuters Foundation, IPS, Opendemorcay.net, Scidev.net, and Mongabay.com among others. He recently served as a Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT (USA) and Middlebury Fellow in Environment Journalist at Middlebury College (USA).
1. Why did you choose to become a science journalist?
As a journalist, I get satisfaction writing stories which make a difference in the lives of ordinary people, and this satisfaction has been fulfilled by writing stories on the impact of scientific discoveries on the lives of people in my country.
2. What role do science and science communication play in your country?
Science communication plays an important role in demystifying complex scientific issues and explain the impacts (be they positive or negative) of scientific discoveries on the lives of ordinary people.
3. In your opinion, which are the walls that will have to fall in science and society within the next five years?
Negative traditional beliefs/cultures (ie female genital mutilation, marrying off young girls to older men, beliefs that raping a virgin or an albino cares HIV etc) are some of the walls which have to fall within the next five years for the development of my country.
4. What are the biggest threats/obstacles to good science journalism and how could we tackle them?
In Zimbabwe for example, politics and cultural beliefs are some of major obstacles to good science journalism. In most cases when political and cultural views collide with a scientific view the former triumphs. Journalists can tackle some of these issues by roping in local experts (scientists) or even respected and knowledgeable traditional leaders- especially in rural communities- to explain some of scientific concepts to ordinary.