Improving communication capabilities in African NARS: a CTA/ISNAR project
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CTA. 1995. Improving communication capabilities in African NARS: a CTA/ISNAR project. Spore 59. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47148
Researchers and policy makers are becoming increasingly aware that the link between research and development in Africa is very weak. One of the reasons for this is the shortage of trained communications personnel in NARS and consequently that...
Researchers and policy makers are becoming increasingly aware that the link between research and development in Africa is very weak. One of the reasons for this is the shortage of trained communications personnel in NARS and consequently that research results are not disseminated effectively. In view of the growing pressure for accountability and the competition for dwindling funding resources, it is essential that research institutes be able to communicate effectively with the donors and other target groups. The aim of the CTA/ISNAR project is to help publications staff in NARS to improve their skills in editing and managing publications programmes. The project started with the production of annual reports as these are often the only venue for researchers to report their findings and for the institutes to communicate with the donors. With the skills acquired while producing the annual reports the participants should be able to edit and produce other institutional publications such as newsletters, project reports and simple manuals. For a start, participants in this project were selected from NARS in five Eastern African countries: Ethiopia, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzanian and Uganda. An introductory workshop was held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 24-29 April, 1995 and it was attended by 22 participants from the countries mentioned above. The workshop reviewed the different types of annual reports and their audiences and the different target groups. Emphasis was laid on aspects of publication management such as planning, budgeting and scheduling. At the end of each lecture, participants and facilitators discussed possible bottlenecks and ways of overcoming them. The workshop was very practical and a lot of time was spent on hands-on exercises. The whole process of producing a book was reviewed in detail; from collecting the information through to writing, editing, design, printing and distribution. The last day of the workshop was devoted to planning annual report production schedules for all the participants. CTA and ISNAR will keep in close contact with the participants to monitor progress in the production of the reports. After 12 months it is planned to hold another workshop to assess the reports produced so far and to plan for other publishing activities in the institutes. This was a pilot project. If it is as successful as hoped it can be replicated in other ACP regions. The group of participants was varied. There were trained librarians, editors, professors, research scientists and agricultural extension officers. What they all had in common was that they were required to produce their institutes' publications. The workshop also revealed that the shortage of equipment and other resources is not the main reason why so little is published. The main reason seems to be lack of awareness and little management support for information services.