Communicating research findings to policy makers, peers and civil society is crucial for research uptake and development. To meet this goal, a one-day training session on messaging through newsletters and journal articles was held for participants of the International Training Programme on Climate Change – Mitigation and Adaptation of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) at ICRISAT, Mali.
Dr Assoumane Maiga, a consultant for the training, made a presentation on the specific case of communicating about climate. As climate change is a global problem with far-reaching implications, it is essential that messages on climate change are successfully communicated to many different groups he said. He emphasized on the importance of tailoring messages to suit different segments such as policy makers, peers and civil society.
Dr Benoît Govoeyi, a consultant at ICRISAT-West and Central Africa (WCA), focused on writing for scientific papers and journals and the need to contribute to the society to help cope with the challenges encountered by target communities. “How your findings provide a solution to the problems, how your results impact certain vulnerable social groups and how these results will benefit the target populations is important. The scientific work leading to your publication e.g., methodology of sampling, focus group discussion, data collection, analysis and references, determine the relevance of your paper,” he said.
Ms Agathe Diama, Head Regional Information, ICRISAT-WCA, led the session on writing engaging articles for the ICRISAT newsletter Happenings. She spoke of the evolution of Happenings from being a weekly staff newsletter to growing into a newsletter telling donors and partners about the work at ICRISAT. The focus of Happenings is on partnerships, told through stories that highlight the work of partners with the farming community, farmers’ organizations, National Agricultural Research System partners, donors, other research organizations, universities and technical support organizations among others. The most preferred stories for Happenings, she said, are either on science advancements and/or on how this is achieving development and shared tips on conveying science in an interesting and engaging manner.
Quick tips for Happenings articles:
- Use gender inclusive language and partner inclusive language at all times.
- When reporting on important visitors/workshops/trainings, focus more on the substantive discussions that took place, any decisions taken, any plans formulated, etc.
- Good photographs are important. Giving the right credits and getting the consent of the person or community featured is mandatory.
- Finding a human interest angle is crucial.
- Stories need to be backed by relevant scientific data.
Dr Nadine O Worou, Program Manager ICRISAT-WCA, emphasized on collaborative work for improving and adding value to scientific publications. “Students and researchers should not hesitate to collaborate as much-rewarded publications are known to be a result of team work,” she said.
ICRISAT and partners (Mali Meteo, Institut Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Appliquée Katibougou (IPR-IFRA)) organized the training held on July 7 at ICRISAT-Samanko, Mali under the ASDI funding through the collaboration with SMHI. The training was coordinated by Dr Nadine O Worou.
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