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Effective communication barrier to sharing science findings

BY: Gabriel Ahiabor
 Dr Elias Ayuk , Director of UNU-INRA, addressing the participants in the workshop. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR
Dr Elias Ayuk , Director of UNU-INRA, addressing the participants in the workshop. Picture: GABRIEL AHIABOR

A communication specialist at the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT) in the Netherlands, Mr Howard Hudson, has identified the lack of effective communication as a barrier to the smooth transmission of science and researched findings to the public.

He said complex words (jargons) in which researchers and scientists presented their findings usually made it difficult for journalists and communication officers to disseminate the information to their publics.

“A lot of the world’s answers to development challenges are known but the information is inaccessible, unusable and unavailable,” he said, adding that bringing research findings into the public domain was a moral imperative and not an option.

At a two-day workshop on science reporting for journalists, researchers and communication officers in Accra, Mr Hudson advised researchers and scientists to involve communication officers at the early stages of their research work to enable them to get a better understanding of the results for effective communication.

The workshop

The United Nations University-Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) organised the workshop which sought to bridge the gap between journalists and  communicators and science researchers in Africa.

It was also aimed at sharing ideas and creating networks among the more than 50 participants from Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda and other African countries.

Collaboration

Mr Hudson said between 2008 and 2012 over 86 per cent of World Bank reports were never cited, while 31 per cent were never downloaded.

The Communication and Public Relations Associate of UNU-INRA, Mrs Praise Nutakor, said although research works were to enrich the life of society, often,  the public was rather left in the dark on some of the breakthroughs in science due to  communication gap.

 

She urged the participants to utilise the knowledge acquired at the workshop and improve upon their reportage, especially on science and environmental issues.