Collaborate, Create, Communicate

Making Science Work: Rice Rural Learning Campaign

Another great example of innovation to add to our AAA campaign: Get your research off the shelves!

A blog post in September on the ICT-KM AAA concept argued that a research-oriented organization such as the CGIAR cannot be satisfied just knowing that it has produced good research. It is critical to ensure that the knowledge or outputs this research produces is put to the best possible use. Using the same philosophy that questions how a crop grown in a lab can feed a hungry person, the issue here is to find the pathway that will take research information off of library shelves and out of hard drives and make sure it is available to its intended users – be they policy makers, researchers, extensionists or the farmers themselves.

Dr. Paul Van Mele of WARDA , the Africa Rice Center, in his recent article Making Science Work published on Rice Today, argues that the best agricultural research in the world won’t help a single farmer if it stays on the shelf. To ensure that good science gets real-world results, the Africa Rice Center (WARDA) and partners have developed educational tools as part of a Rice Rural Learning Campaign to communicate relevant science and to stimulate learning all. By promoting better access to scientific results, the campaign is helping African rice farmers and processors improve both rice productivity and marketing opportunities.
Dr. Van Mele and colleagues from UK-based Countrywise Communication will present their innovative use of rural radios and videos for improving farmers’ productivity in the Knowledge Fair event in Rome in January.

How do we know their approach works?  To assess the videos’ impact, 200 women were surveyed in Benin. After watching a video on parboiling rice, over 90% cleaned and dried their rice properly (compared with 20% in a group who did not watch the video), and 42% adopted improved rice parboiling (compared with 5% in the nonvideo group). Not only did rice quality improve, allowing the women to obtain a higher price, but they also learned to work better as a group.

The title “Making Science Work” says it all!