Facilitating Synergetic Interaction between Science and Religion in Kenya through an integrated Build-Train-Go (BuildTrainGo) Public Engagement Model
August 1, 2019 - July 31, 2022
Core Funding Area:
Director: Professor Francis W. MuregiInstitution: Mount Kenya University
In Kenya, religious tenets, cultural practices, and beliefs are sometimes at a crossroads with science. Religious leaders may object to government-driven immunization and contraception campaigns. Some traditional practices and beliefs such as wife inheritance and female genital mutilation (FGM) impede efforts to improve gender equality and health. At the root of this perceived conflict is a dearth of knowledge on the intersection of science, culture, and religion.
To help bridge this knowledge gap, Templeton World Charity Foundation funded a project in 2016 to establish the Christian & Scientific Association of Kenya (CSAK). A platform that fosters dialogue between science & Christian faith among academics, CSAK now has 320 members drawn from 40 universities. It has held major workshops, conferences, lectures, and debates, and two national essay competitions.
This follow-up project will roll out the science–religion discourse from the ivory tower to the broader public in Kenya. It will explore the following:
- Particularization: how to integrate cultural issues unique to African communities into the scaffold of science–religion discourse;
- Conscientization: how to foster constructive interaction between science, culture, and religion; and
- Universalization: how to incorporate African contextual issues into the science–religion discourse on a global level.
Activities will follow an integrated “Build-Train-Go” public engagement model:
- Build: Establish science and religion clubs (SRCs) in schools, found an African Centre for Science & Religion (ACSR) to serve as a Centre of Excellence, and augment the digital capacity of CSAK’s Resource Centre.
- Train: Promote understanding of science and religion through capacity building of scientists, media practitioners, clergy, and SRC members through evidence-based interventions.
- Go: Promote the constructive contribution of science to religion through community outreach activities, media campaigns, clergy-championed seminar sessions, and public debates.
Through these activities, the project hopes to spur a constructive and sustainable interaction between science, culture, and religion—ultimately enabling their harmonious co-existence.
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