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Thanks to ICITAP, Dr Mwangi Wanderi (picture middle), Director of DCI Kenya, was invited to join the The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) annual symposium in Birmingham, Alabama, USA recently. Dr Wanderi participated in a panel discussion alongside a select group of foreign laboratory directors. The panel addressed the strides made and hurdles faced in adopting new technologies, cultivating professional staff, navigating unique legal and crime scenarios, and pursuing accreditation.

The panel, orchestrated by ICITAP, aimed to assemble diverse perspectives from various global regions grappling with distinct forensic challenges, such as combating drug cartel violence, addressing cases of missing persons, or responding to terrorist threats. These laboratories operate within different operational frameworks, influencing forensic awareness among investigators and legal practitioners. By spotlighting these differences and parallels with U.S. forensic laboratories, the discussion sought to captivate Symposium attendees' interest and foster cross-cultural learning and collaboration.

For foreign laboratories, being pioneers in their regions often entails significant investments, not just financially, but also in organisational restructuring and cultural shifts within the workspace. Whether it's striving to be the first to achieve accreditation or integrating novel technologies, laboratories encounter multifaceted challenges that demand unwavering support from senior leadership. This entails not only financial backing but also adept management encompassing strategic planning, budget allocation, and quality assurance administration. Moreover, scientists play a pivotal role, requiring a comprehensive understanding of their discipline's capabilities and limitations to develop robust procedures and provide credible testimony in legal proceedings.

It is exciting to see our region represented here, and further to our call for a more inclusive forensic community, these types of fully funded opportunities, where recipients can take knowledge back into the field, are welcomed.


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