March for Science

The banner is up over Independence Arch in Blantyre.

The 2018 Malawi March for Science is
bigger and better!

Pictures from the inspiring march!

We had a drone at the march! Thank you, Ben Turner. See other cool pictures here.

In 2017, more than 1 million people around the world gathered together in the largest event for science advocacy in history.  We gathered in a garden and had 70 participants.

This year, we will actually march and we hope to have more than 300 participants: advocates, science educators, scientists, and concerned citizens. Everyone’s welcome; just show up!

Students from the University of Malawi College of Medicine model our T-shirts.

The international theme for 2018 is “Science, Not Silence.” Our rallying cry is “Tilankhule!” (Speak Out!)

We’re busy organizing for the April 14 event, which will start at Top Mandala Museum, Blantyre, at 8 a.m. (We’ll have some time to make signs before we march.)

The overall theme of the Malawi March for Science is “Evidence-Based Policy Decisions.” There will be six short talks on this theme at the end of the march, in the amphitheater at the Polytechnic. We’ll have a sound system and police presence during the march. There will be dancers welcoming us at the Polytechnic at the end of the march, as well as banners, plus live music by Code Sangala and Annemarie Quinn of the Music Against Malaria Tour.

Data-Driven Success Stories in Malawi

  • Dr. Grace Malenga (Emeritus Paediatrician): Malawi’s move AWAY from chloroquine
  • Prof. Ken Maleta (College of Medicine): Using science to develop therapeutic feeds
  • Harold Chirwa (independent pit emptier): Research improves “emptying technology”

Challenges facing Malawi

  • Dr. Wezi Mkwaila (LUANAR):  Cassava brown streak disease:  how data could drive policy
  • Monica Mburu (PhD student, College of Medicine):  Banning plastic bags:  the Kenyan experience
  • Muthi Nhlema (Team Leader at BASEFlow): When Evidence is Inconvenient (He gives a great presentation here.)

We have a Facebook page for the march, plus a PayPal account, if you’d like to donate. Follow us on Twitter, too: @scimarchmalawi.


2017 March for Science

Taima nji! (We are standing STRONG!)

We were 70 strong – and we spanned 8 decades in age at the Malawi March For Science Saturday, 22 April.
Our signs were excellent, our “call and response” during the speeches was empowering and moving, and our energy and enthusiasm were inspiring!

Watch our “call and response.” Malawi March for Science video

And we’re in the March for Science Wikipedia entry.

Zikomo +++++++++++++ to everyone:

  • Our donors at the PI level ($100 or more): Stephen Rogerson, Don Mathanga, Sufia Dadhabai, Kami Kim, Irving Hoffman, Mark Wilson.
  • At the Co-Investigator level, Natasha Spottiswoode, Zhanhan Tu, Elizabeth Tilley.
  • Logistic Support: Benhard Gushu (procured soft drinks, water), Felix Mkandawire (T-shirts for the Ndx team and general organizing), the entire Ndirande Research Team (bringing the ice, setting up, handling registration, coordinating activities and cleaning up afterwards), Sandy Dudley (art supplies and helium balloons), Tumaini Malenda (“Robin the sound guy”)
  • Speakers: MC, speaker and “call and response” coach, Arox Kamng’ona; TT, Hamilton Banda, Osward Nyirenda, Stephen Gordon
  • Photography: David Montreuil
  • Social Media: Jodee Taylor, who was tweeting A LOT on our behalf!!

Our Media Presence:

Tumaini Malenga on PRI’s “The World”, Friday, 21 April
Terrie Taylor in Inside Higher Ed

We’re holding a Blantyre March for Science satellite event to support science, scientists and evidence-based policymaking. Please join us! This is for anyone who values science — advocates, science educators, scientists and concerned citizens. However, rather than march, we plan to Stand Up for Science.

The current budget proposal by the Trump administration in the U.S. has made the need for support even more urgent. Congress holds the purse strings, but the president has recommended steep cuts on global health research agencies, foreign aid programs and initiatives.  He is proposing a $5.8 billion cut to the NIH (19% of its budget!) and he has proposed the total elimination of the Fogarty International Center. Our goal is to be for science, rather than anti any particular political figure.  We would like scientists and supporters of science and their families to attend.

Dr. Terrie Taylor was interviewed by Inside Higher Ed:

In Malawi, Terrie Taylor, a professor at Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine who spends six months of every year in the country, said the Trump administration’s proposals to cut the National Institutes of Health budget by nearly 20 percent and to eliminate the NIH’s global health-focused Fogarty International Center have galvanized support for Saturday’s satellite event in Blantyre, which she hopes will attract up to a couple hundred people.

“We have a lot of NIH-funded work here, and we have a lot of people who have benefited from Fogarty International Center programs,” Taylor said. “The thrust is not anti-Trump as much as it is support for U.S. federally funded research and the U.S. federally funded training, which has had a huge impact on so many people here. So many people have benefited from taking part in the Fogarty programs.”

Download our poster to share with others.

Saturday, April 22, 2017
3-5 p.m.

MSU House, 16 Marshall Road, Mandala, Blantyre

We’ll “take a stand” and hear from our like-minded colleagues.

Photo Op:  We will shoot our big group photo at the end, between 4:30 and 5 p.m., we’ll take a group photo. Please wear or bring something representative of your science — a lab coat, stethoscope, tree branch, etc.

We’ll provide soft drinks and water; please bring a snack to share.

From 1 to 3 p.m., we’ll be making posters, also at the MSU House. We will have poster boards, Magic Markers, and paint available from 1-3 p.m. for those who would like to make a poster on the spot. Here are some starter ideas:

Science Beats Infections
Vaccines Save Lives
Pathogens are not partisan
Didn’t died of malaria?  Thank a scientist!
Science trumps alternative facts.
Science, not Silence
Make America Smart Again
Got plague?  Neither do I.  Thank a scientist!

And if you’re not in Malawi, feel free to participate. Send slogans, ideas and hopeful vibes.