Communication for agricultural development: the impact of training
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CTA. 1997. Communication for agricultural development: the impact of training. Spore 67. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48649
Communication for agricultural development: the impact of training From 2 to 4 December, 1996, fifteen participants met at Santa Maria Imbaro (Chieti), Italy
From 2 to 4 December, 1996, fifteen participants met at Santa Maria Imbaro (Chieti), Italy, to discuss ways of improving the impact of training on agricultural development through better sharing of knowledge and resources between organizations providing training in scientific communication. The meeting was convened by CTA and hosted by the International Federation of Science Editors, which is based at the Centre for the Centre for Scientific Communication in the Consorzio Mario Negri Sud, an Italian biomedical research centre with extensive, cross-sectoral training programmes in sciences communication. The preparatory group for the meeting, comprising CTA, FAO, IFSE, IPGRI and WARDA, had stated that scientific research, when communicated effectively to users at all appropriate levels, is an integral component of economic and cultural development. Today, however, such linkages are weak for African agricultural research. In spite of extensive research activity, its impact on agricultural development remains limited, to a large extent, because of ineffective dissemination of results. Scientific communication is largely overlooked as an essential component of research and development. Scientific publishing in Africa is beset by economic and other constraints, including the shortage of trained editors, writers and publication producers and managers. Several national agricultural institutions, international organizations and development agencies recognize this situation. Over the last ten years they have undertaken or sponsored many training projects in science communications, and this meeting was designed to find ways of increasing their effectiveness. Participants included the training and publications officers of national and regional bodies (AGRITEX Zimbabwe, ASARECA, CARDI, CASP, CORAF, and PRAP) and national and international centres for agricultural research (CIRAD, ICRAF, IPGRI, IRRI, ISNAR, NRI, SPAAR), IFSE and CTA. The overriding concern of the meeting was that the ultimate aim of good communications must be towards improving the quality of life, through food security. It could efficiently use the private sector to help the public sector, and should build on the strength of the networking approach and partnerships. A recurrent theme was the need for proper targeting of scientific information among farmers, producers and researchers. Participants also stressed the value of better communication to promote the activities of agricultural researchers and institutions, amongst others, to the general public and to funding sources. An essential element in providing training for such approaches is not only how to make information available, but also how to make it more accessible. In agreeing to share their own resources and information in a growing network, participants drew up practical plans for action. Specific action points for the coming months include: improving application procedures for candidate trainees, in order to improve selection and facilitate customized training; setting up databases of trainers, training institutions and training materials; creating an electronic 'Virtual Library of Training Resources' on the Internet, comprising full text publications and references of publications on sale; developing basic courses for training in writing for public awareness, science writing and editing, and sharing information on the management of short courses; promoting low-cost internships/placements; compiling information on training opportunities for trainers. For these activities, the participants will at first use only their own resources, with an evaluation of their networking after one year. This will form the basis for future cooperation and an evolving network. Longer term action, which will require the network to generate more resources, include improved monitoring of training needs, and assessment of the impact on agricultural development of training in communication. The network will make its own communications accessible electronically on the Internet, with parallel communication on paper.