31.07.2012 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Assisting Bioethics Committees in Africa: first training session organized in Chad

At the request of the Republic of Chad where a National Bioethics Committee has just been created, a training session will be organized at the Hotel Novotel La Tchadienne, in N’Djamena, from 1 to 3 August 2012. Its aim will be to clarify the role and mission of this newly established committee helping its members to develop clear working methods and rules of procedure, and also initiatives for public information and for networking.

First activity to be implemented in this country in the framework of UNESCO’s “Assisting Bioethics Committees” (ABC) project, this 3-Day training session will allow the twenty members of the new Chadian Bioethics Committee to be informed and to discuss on the best practices of National Bioethics Committees that have been operational for a much longer time. Although it belongs to each National Bioethics Committee to elaborate its own work methods according to its mandate, sharing experiences allows the committees recently established to learn from successes and failures of other National Committees.

Implemented as one part of UNESCO’s bioethics capacity building initiative, derived from the “Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights”, the ABC project, in the framework of which this session takes place, guides the countries in the development of their National Bioethics Committees (NBC) over a course of 3 years providing them with one training per year and a variety of resources.

This training cycle, led by both UNESCO staff and international experts from UNESCO’s partner networks, offers to countries participating to address their needs, tailoring the trainings to the needs of each country and each newly-established institution.

The content of the trainings rely on a series of guides that UNESCO has produced specifically for this aim, and also on the UNESCO Bioethics Core Curriculum, which is primarily designed around the internationally-agreed ethics standards but also around internationally-agreed human rights standards, while it acknowledges and invites local variation.

Special consideration is given to promoting gender equality in terms of the content of materials used for training and the development of the agendas and plans of the National Bioethics Committees.

For the trainings, as well as for the capacity building initiative as a whole, UNESCO gives special consideration to addressing first African States, in line with demand.

The trainings for newly-created Committees have been conducted, and evaluated as successful, since 2008 in Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Jamaica, Kenya and Togo.

The first beneficiary country that has completed the 3 training cycle is Kenya (November 2011). Côte d’Ivoire should be the next by the end of 2012, period during which similar trainings have or will also be held for the 2nd time in Gabon (23-27 July), in Guinea (11-15 September) and in Ghana (12-16 November) and, also for the 1st time in Malawi (22-24 November).

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