Monthly Archives: July 2012

What caught our eye last week
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An interesting article on the BBC news looks at how some entrepreneurs from East Africa are using mobile apps as loyalty cards that are easily tied to social media and require only a standard text to use – no smartphone necessary!  See ‘Kenyan and Ugandan start-ups make location pay its way’ (Fiona Graham, BBC). Caroline Wagner (SciDev.Net) looks at the challenge of making the outcomes of scientific research (especially publications) available to all potential users. See ‘Uncovering the world’s ‘unseen’ science’. ‘“Developing” countries arrested development’ (Hector Torres, Project Syndicate)  is a somewhat controversial article on the possibility of revising the group of countries defined as “emerging” and subject to a less restricted regime by the WTO. As a similar point of interest, our own Rebecca Bailey recently posted ‘How do you measure development?’, which questions whether HDI and GNI are good indicators of a country’s development. Finally, Simon McGrath wrote … Continue reading

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Are centres of excellence or strong networks the key to capacity building?
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Most of us reading and writing (and in my case at least, indulging in some ‘thinking out loud’) on this blog are probably concerned with ‘capacity building’ in some form. How to do it better? How to make it sustainable? How to do it at the scale required? Capacity is too big an issue to address in a single post, of course, so this is just a take on one particular dimension — centres or networks?

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What caught our eye last week
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The UK looks poised to take a big step into Open Access. Last week, Ian Samples (the Guardian) looked at the UK government’s plan for ‘Free access to British Scientific research within two years’. The UK would be the first country to take this controversial step. We recently came across a report published by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) entitled ‘Learning purposefully in capacity development’ (Alfredo Ortiz and Peter Taylor, IDS). The report analyses long and short term objectives of capacity development activity as well as what to take into consideration when deciding how to monitor the on-going process and evaluate the impact of the whole activity. This is a must read for any capacity development organisation. While not specifically related to research communication and international development, we did find the following links interesting. The first is simply the introduction of walking routes on Google maps for Africa. The second is a visual representation … Continue reading

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An interview with Clara Richards
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Clara Richards is a development professional who has worked for CIPPEC and the Overseas Development Institute. She is the current coordinator of the Evidence-Based Policy in Development Network. Earlier this year, Clara and Vanessa Weyrauch (from CIPPEC) carried out an evaluation of INASP’s programme to teach pedagogy skills to those who train African policy makers in the use of evidence. Following this evaluation, Clara took part as a participant in a similar training programme in Kuala Lumpur — this time for trainers of Asian policy makers. To complete the cycle, later this year, she will take on the role of co-facilitator at a further workshop — pedagogy for trainers of policy makers in Latin America.

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AuthorAID mentee discusses first publication
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Recently, we came to know that Ms. Bezaye Taye, a food science researcher in Ethiopia, has published her first research paper in a peer-reviewed journal. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions for the benefit of other early-career researchers in the AuthorAID community.

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The truth about birthday cake
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In June I was lucky enough to try a piece of the largest birthday cake I’ve personally ever seen. Not only was it a magnificent cake but it was delicious as well. But why the cake? Well it was INASP’s 20th Anniversary and to celebrate, we organised a 20th Anniversary Symposium that was held in Oxford a few weeks ago – 20 June to be precise. The purpose of the event was to bring together INASP partners from around the world to explore various aspects of research communication and research uptake for development as they exist today, how the field might develop in the future and to eat some cake! Ignoring the last bit for the moment, we structured the day around inviting a wide range of speakers to examine various “truths” associated with the broad area that can be considered the research information and research uptake for development environment.

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