|SPORE Bulletin of the CTA No. 57 - June 1995 (CTA - Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, 1995)|
Over the past few years CTA has collaborated with other organizations in a training programme focusing on improving the communication capabilities of ACP countries in the field of agriculture. The main aim of the programme is to bridge the gap between research and development by providing trainees with the communication skills needed to transfer knowledge and technologies more effectively.
In the course of last year, CTA sponsored or jointly organized four workshops on scientific writing, two on desktop publishing and one on the production of extension materials.
Scientific writing workshop for agricultural researchers
In Africa, workshops were organized in Benin (14-25 November) and Kenya (9-20 January 1995). These workshops provide information on publishing procedures, choosing appropriate journals and liaising with the editors, planning and writing papers, and oral and poster presentations.
The workshop in Benin was attended by 35 participants from 15 African countries (12 anglophone and 23 francophone). It was run in two languages, with two sets of resource persons, an approach which has proved effective in West Africa where many English and French-speaking scientists are working alongside each other on the same topic. The Kenya workshop was held at ICRAF headquarters and attended by 27 participants from eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa. The participants suggested that these courses should be longer to cover all topics adequately, and that some scientists should be trained to run similar courses at national or regional level.
The workshops in the Caribbean were part of a series being organized by CARDI and sponsored by CTA. They cover the principles of communication, writing style for technical publications, and scientific conventions in data presentation, and put the emphasis on practical exercises. The participants included researchers and trainers in agricultural research institutions, government departments the private sector and regional organizations.
The workshop in Belize (22-25 November) was attended by 13 researchers from the Belize College of Agriculture, CARDI, the ministry and the private sector. The Jamaica workshop (28 November - 1 December) was attended by 16 participants from the University of West Indies, CARDI, the government departments and the private sector. In their evaluation reports, the participants suggested that these workshops should be longer and that courses on specific subjects such as biometry, data handling and oral presentations should be organized.
Desktop publishing courses
With current developments in electronic media, desktop publishing is now the most cost-effective system for producing printed materials. Participants in the desktop publishing courses in which CTA is involved are editors and publications production staff from research and development institutes, government departments and NGOs.
The course in Nigeria (1-20 August) was held at NEARLS headquarters and was sponsored entirely by CTA. It was attended by 10 participants from several Nigerian agricultural research institutes. To qualify for the course, the participants had to have prior knowledge of word-processing and access to appropriate equipment in their institutes. The course modules were followed by practical exercises and a test. In the Senegal course (12-30 September) sponsored by CTA and ARESAF and attended by 15 participants from francophone countries in Africa, the emphasis was on hands-on experience. Each participant had access to a personal computer and a printer. This enabled participants to practise using the applications covered in the course until they felt confident that they had mastered them.