Day 4 of the workshop moved to the FARA Secretariat from the Airport West Hotel, where the focus shifted to developing good policy briefs. This session was followed by an introduction to social media, the tools and how they work. Participants then undertook an energetic exercise in role playing, where they enjoyed playing the parts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ scientists and journalists, appreciating the pitfalls that lie in wait for those who are unprepared.
The day concluded with a real press conference, which was joined by several members of the local media. The panel featured Prof Monty Jones, FARA Executive Director. CTA was represented by Sam Mikenga. Other panellists were Mr Diran Onifade, President of the African Federation of Science Journalists, and Dr Matthew Gboku, Deputy Director of the Sierra Leone Agriculture Research Institute (SLARI).
Taking advantage of the presence of Prof Jones, the organisers presented certificates to all participants. The certificates were signed by Mr Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, and Prof Jones.
A field trip on Day 3 provided participants with an opportunity to see how one organization has succeeded in assisting a local community by providing useful information through radio.
Radio Ada, a non-profit entity, has been operating for 14 years from a Dangme-speaking community in Ada district, 120 km east of Accra near the Volta River estuary. The area is disadvantaged by poor soils, erratic rainfall, and historically pooreducational facilities. Moreover, the Dangme language is spoken nowhere else and was in a state of degeneration when Radio Ada made its appearance. The station broadcasts news and agricultural advisory notices exclusively in Dangme.
Workshop participants were able to interact with extensionists and Radio Ada staff, who also served as translators.
Radio is arguably the best medium through which to reach farmers with timely, useful news that can help them achieve better harvests. Community-based radio is still a fledgling enterprise in Ghana, and indeed in Africa as a whole. Through organisations like Radio Ada, farmers can attain new levels of prosperity.
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NSF2 is holding an important workshop all this week (13-17 February). The workshop, Training African researcher leaders and media to promote and improve agriculture, has brought together senior scientists and media professionals to seek ways to work together for the benefit of both groups, and in so doing, for the benefit of all Africans. The workshop is supported by both FARA and CTA.