Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A well told story: Effective communication for development

A inspiring talk opened the first day of the Share Fair unfolding in Rome from today to Thursday 29 September. Rob Burnet leads Well Told Story, a multi-award-winning Kenyan communications company which pulls together comic books, syndicated FM radio, SMS, social media, web, video animation, strategy and science to help change the way people live, think, act and govern in East Africa.

In his talk, he shared with the audience his experiences and focussed specifically on how to make agriculture more attractive to young people in Africa. In this interview, he summaries the main points of his key note address.

According to Rob, when you want to reach young people with ideas about agriculture, it is about taking the research that we know it works and getting it into the life of people that need to benefit from it.

Secondly, it has to be about 'pull', and it can't be about 'push': "it is about packaging ideas that the youth will take and run away with" says Rob.

Moreover, according to Rob it we fell short of making good research outputs and ideas accessible form the ones that have to benefit from them, "we might as well go home".

In this sense, Rob concludes with a provocative statement as he encourages the CGIAR to spend 30% its budget on research communication, making sure that the research outputs produced during the past 10 years reach the people they are intended to benefit. "We do this, and we really can change the world."

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