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Posts Tagged ‘africa’


Sharing networks for health communication

July 21, 2009

Over the course of the next ten days we are publishing a series of Blogs on R4D Dialogue about our experiences at the recent 6th World Conference of Science Journalists. The content of these blogs will include personal reflections on the event, practical ideas on communicating science-based research, and feedback and discussion on how R4D was marketed at the event. Below is the first instalment, it looks at how existing project networks might be shared for more widespread communication of health related issues.

The news breaks that a clinical trial is being launched in three African countries of a drug that could eliminate onchocerciasis, or river blindness, as it is more commonly known.

The drug, “moxidectin, is being investigated for its potential to kill or sterilize the adult worms of Onchocerca volvulus, which cause onchocerciasis.

The World Health Organisation’s media operation swings into action. The news that this illness, which has devastated lives in 30 African countries for hundreds of years, broke on July 1. The African scientists behind the discovery from the World Health Organisation and Wyeth appeared at the World Federation of Science Journalists Congress to explain and provide information on the trials and the drug.

What’s interesting to science communicators and research communication projects is hidden in the detail. There is a distribution network already set up by this project which will provide 4,000 community access points in Ghana, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Imagine the potential that could exist for dissemination of information and engagement with rural communities if research projects with mutual aims shared networks and ‘linkedin’ in with each other to use these channels? What are the opportunities that can be explored to share the results of research which could be applicable on a wide scale? This is not to suggest that research projects expect other organisations to do their communications work for them. Instead it is to look around and investigate opportunities for collaboration not only in dissemination terms but resource sharing in terms of setup.

Some organisations and research projects no doubt do this. Panos Relay have worked with ZAMBART, the Zambian AIDS-related Tuberculosis project, Lusaka, Zambia on behalf of the Consortia led by the programme for Tropical diseases but do we have the chance to do this on a wider scale??? Can we break down the barriers and connect to these communities to share information that can increase livelihoods?

DFID research strategy
View outputs of DFID-funded research

Reaching research end users

May 20, 2009

Scientific staff of CIAT met this week in Colombia in their annual ‘knowledge sharing week.’

Arguing that science needs impact, Louse Sperling led a discussion on what CIAT calls ‘Reaching End Users’ or REU. The main emphasis of such work is to devise innovative and effective ways to get CIAT research out, and into use. A key strategy is to form the right partnerships and collaborative relationships so that all their knowledge can be mobilized.

“Choosing which partners to join right from the beginning of a project is one of the most critical decisions in REU” – Louise Sperling

CIAT has been following such approaches in Eastern and Southern Africa, catalyzing collaboration among public and private institutions so they together achieve impact on the ground – and in the pockets of farmers!

CIAT’s Jean Claude Rubyogo explains how multiple actors in research in Africa work together in a ‘value chain approach’ to achieve improved uptake of bean varieties:

See his video on Improving research uptake through collaboration with the private sector.

DFID provides core funding to the CGIAR

The new research strategy
More on the consultation process
View outputs of DFID-funded research

Climate Change Adaptation in Africa

April 22, 2009

Izabella Koziell, DFID advisor for climate adaptation research, reviews some of the lessons learnt from the research and capacity development program Climate Change Adaptation in Africa – CCAA – which DFID manages together with IDRC in Canada.

There are some interesting conclusions to draw from this programme. Climate change is a relatively new issue at the institutional level in Africa : the impact of climate change remains largely unknown for Africa as a whole. This means that doing research at a country level and determining the links with national planners, agriculturalists and environmentalists is rather difficult.

One of the projects in central Tanzania demonstrates that innovation is driven by adapting to climate variability. The participatory action research carried out by researchers is coming up with creative solutions. In the face of negative messages around climate change, this is a positive programme that produces innovative solutions. Farmers, faced with weather patterns too dry to grow their usual crop, maize, are switching to grow sunflowers and even grapes as a solution.

Ms. Koziell also talks about some of the challenges that the programme has faced in reaching policy makers and some of the approaches that have been taken to ensure policymaking is more informed by the results of research. Communication is also a key element to ensure that adaptation to climate change is possible, the use of rural radio is one example within the CCAA program.

See more on DFID Research Strategy: One Year On

The new research strategy
More on the consultation process
View outputs of DFID-funded research