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LIDC helps One Health researchers from Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) develop skills to better communicate findings

LIDC conducted a training workshop in research communications for a group of researchers from the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS), at a two-day intensive workshop hosted by the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) on 3-4 October 2013.

LIDC is working in a smart partnership with SACIDS - a consortium of 25 institutions across five Southern African countries working on One Health – a principle that integrates human and animal health, as well as the environment. This complexity and wide spread make the need to communicate crucial.

Mark Rweyemamu, the Executive Director of SACIDS, said:
“Our researchers produce knowledge and evidence that address the challenge of infectious diseases transmitted from species to species on the African continent and beyond. This knowledge must be communicated to audiences as diverse as government officials, non-governmental organisations and local communities to ensure that people are protected from diseases. This training aimed to equip researchers with skills to effectively communicate with one another and their audiences.”

The training participants, professors, postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and research support staff, came from Tanzania, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The workshop was jointly delivered by Sekela Kyomo, Communications Manager, SACIDS and Anna Marry, Communications Manager, LIDC.

 

Trainees learned about the basic principles of communicating research, understanding audiences, communicating in Plain English, writing for the web, disseminating research via social media and blogs, interacting with policy-makers and with media. A highlight of the programme was a presentation on how researchers can work with media, followed by practical exercises, delivered by Gabriel Nderumaki, Acting Managing Editor of Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN) Ltd.

 

 

 

Justin Masumu (pictured), who came to the training from DRC, said:
“This training helped me understand basic principles of communication, especially Plain English. I wish it could last longer.”

Another participant, Aaron Mweene from Zambia, concluded:
“Clarity and focus are cardinal in effective communication.”

 

 

The participants came out of the workshop energised and with new confidence to mainstream communications efforts in their home institutions. They made a commitment to writing shorter sentences, using social media to communicate research, engaging with media more regularly, and simplifying their messages to fit the needs of their audiences.

The workshop attracted media attention across Tanzania, with stories published by The Daily News, The Citizen, The Guardian and other outlets.