By Rose Athumani, 9 November 2012, Tanzania Daily News
MANY scientific and research work do not benefit society because there is no proper and simple ways to communicate findings to the public and policymakers.
This was revealed in Dar es Salaam during a workshop for health experts from African countries, including representatives from the NEPAD Agency and West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) and facilitated by the Council on Health Research and Development (COHRED).
Knight International Fellow for Development Journalism and veteran Journalist Mr Joachim Buwembo said that scientists and researchers do not have a simpler way of communicating with politicians or policymakers. “They are doing a tremendous a job, however they lack the language to use to communicate with ordinary people about what they do and their outcomes,” he explained.
Presenting a paper on Communicating More Effectively with Decision Makers, Mr Buwembo noted that experts need to find a way to link their research to people’s daily activities and how the research intends to help improve the public’s welfare. “For instance, a research on a new type of potatoes that’s set to increase production or resistance to drought, should focus on telling farmers how it increases their revenues instead of just focusing on the potato.
This will not only get the farmer interested but also the politicians and policymakers,” he said. The lack of communication between researchers, policymakers and even the media in disseminating research findings calls for establishment of an independent body that will help policy makers by helping them understand research outcomes in a simpler language, participants observed.
Mr Bruno Kubata from the Nepad Agency noted that the independent body will work closely with policymakers by translating research findings to help them understand the outcomes. It was also noted that the media practitioners need to focus on specialization, a way to be conversant of respective issues.