11 November 2006

Information and Communication Management Strategies in agricultural science and technology

The CTA Knowledge for Development portal recently published some stories about information and communication management (ICM) experiences in some ACP countries.

Noteworthy are the articles by Rachel Rege and Roger Day. Roger argues that Information and Communication Management) and knowledge management usually have three main components: people, processes and technology. While "modern ICTs provide many opportunities", it is the people component of ICM that is the most important, supported by processes and technology."

Rachel suggests that the three main ICM challenges (and the solutions) are:
  • How to improve dissemination of research to and communication with policymakers
    • Strengthen research communication skills (in order to get the target right, get the format right and get the timing right)
    • Aim for close collaboration between researchers and policymakers
    • Construct an appropriate platform from which to communicate and build interactive dialogue platforms (a platform of broad engagement and feedback mechanisms in place e.g. public campaigns, is more likely to be heard)
    • Strengthen institutional policy capacity for uptake (government departments might not be able to use research because of lack of staff or organization capacity).
  • How to improve dissemination of research to and communication among researchers
    • Support research networks, especially electronic, national and regional networks
    • Continue with dissemination of development research
    • Strengthen ACP research capacity through south – south and south – north partnerships and collaboration.
  • How to improve communication of research to end users
    • Incorporate communication activities into project design, taking into account, for example gender, local context and existing ways of communication and possibilities for new ways of communicating through ICTs (e.g. community radios, rural info-centres, mobile telephones)
    • Encourage user engagement, map existing information demand and information use environment, and promote participative communication for empowerment (enhance the capacity for user needs analysis and impact assessment studies)
    • Create an enabling environment (as failure of use of research/information is not always due to lack of communication, but can instead be due to lack of a favourable political environment or lack of resources).



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