Role of science journalism in Uganda - November 2012

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Presentation by Patrick Luganda, CEO, Farmers Media Link Network, Uganda
Delivered at the B4FA Media Dialogue Workshop, Kampala, Uganda - November 2012
www.b4fa.org

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Role of science journalism in Uganda - November 2012

  1. 1. Patrick Luganda, Media Consultant and Trainer Chair Network of Climate Journalists Greater Horn of Africa
  2. 2. Talk, communicate, attitude, create understanding, Priorities Enable the 870m people feed themselves Knowledge available. Locked up in closets-in laboratories, experiment stations Break the jargon and complex nature of science. Make it ordinary, common language, farm talk etc eg school programme
  3. 3. Poverty , Ignorance and Disease Population growing out of proportion but requires careful planning and management. Solving other challenges build on these Climate change, finance, food insecurity, research facilities, equipment, access to education, health care, competitiveness, innovation etc etc
  4. 4. There is a strong correlation between Severe Droughts and Significant Economic Decline. Reduction in GDP. At the opposite end of the scale, there is a strong correlation between good rain years , economic growth and positive GDP performance Ditto for disease in humans, livestock and plant. Famine and death. Hopeless case
  5. 5. In 1980s and part of 1990s Africa was a gloomy picture. Horrible pictures like the ones above made headlines in many sitting rooms around the globe. Journalists and media houses won international awards The Sahel region from West Africa to Ethiopia was the theatre of horrendous moving media stories
  6. 6. The stories have changed from hunger and starvation. Even in the recent Somali, Northern Kenya famine stories are far and between. Death toll receding The significance of this is that governments, individuals and communities are paying more attention to media stories and seeking for solutions to the myriad of challenges
  7. 7. Geological Billions of USD per decade 495 500 Hydrometeorological 450 400 345 350 300 Economic losses related to disasters are increasing 250 200 160 150 103 88 100 47 24 50 4 14 11 0 56-65 66-75 76-85 86-95 Millions of casualties per decade But we are saving lives 3 96-05 decade Geological 2.66 Hydrometeorological 2.5 2 1.73 1.5 Source: EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database 1 0.67 0.65 0.39 0.5 0.22 0.17 0.25 0.22 0.05 9 0 56-65 66-75 76-85 86-95 96-05 decade
  8. 8. Africa is demonstrating its capacity to react to climate disasters as shown by Kenya in worst drought in 60yrs It was the worst drought but had far less tragedies than those before it Government reaction, NGO and international organizations and public response were amazingly organized and well focussed. Basket case changing
  9. 9. Examples are growing of countries where journalists are making efforts to report on science and technology on a regular basis Networks and associations have been formed in various fields at various levels from national, regional to continental. Media houses and individuals have made great strides
  10. 10. This success it should be noted it is not a blanket cover There are still several governments, communities and individuals that have to be reached New innovative ways to disseminate this vital information is needed More aggressive ways using all forms of communication including new media should be applied
  11. 11. WE have moved but still have a lot of ground to cover In the USA, China and elsewhere bigger challenges have been solved using the power of science minimizing tragedies and loss of life Economic loss is also minimized through utilization of effective communication of science
  12. 12. Climate Land Water Manpower with a youthful population Trainable workforce Potential to learn to innovate Virgin investment opportunities Agrarian reform still to happen
  13. 13. Currently Africa lacks sufficient equipment , research capacity and skilled manpower. Trainable manpower is available Africa has not made investments in regional and national programs needed to reap the significant benefits from research and innovation Transfer of science technology for agricultural application is still wanting and not prioritized at national budget allocatio
  14. 14. It has been said over and over again. Africa is lagging behind. We have also heard again and again Africa is a bottomless pit that never fills. Donor support has been substantial over several decades but donor fatigue is evident Application of science innovation in a sustained manner can help solve this
  15. 15. Many countries lack the infrastructural, technical, human and institutional capacities to provide highquality climate services.
  16. 16. “Africa remains scientifically, economically, politically and militarily weak because its scientific knowledge has not been given the right incubators.” Daniel Arap Moi Former President Kenya speaking recently at an innovation conference in Kabarak University, Kenya.
  17. 17. Africa has the POTENTIAL to spring out of this situation of hopelessness and despair. That POTENTIAL must be unlocked for the continent to leap forward Communication of science for application by the ordinary small holder farmers is a crucial step towards unlocking this potential
  18. 18. Science Products cover all aspects of daily lives for the welfare of the ordinary farmer making them useful in a wide range of applications The potential return on investments is immense. Increased productivity in agriculture, better nutrition and economic welfare
  19. 19. Food & Nutrition Security Income Security Health Security Social Security Political Stability National Security Environmental Security Interstate Security and Self Reliance
  20. 20. Journalism has changed over the last few decades Dormant Reactive Proactive Pre-emptive
  21. 21. Most developed nations used the agrarian reform as a springboard to development Africa gets enough rain, has the right climate and the right recipe for an agrarian reform. Application of science information and products combined with other scientific inputs including technologies and better agronomic practices can catalyze an agrarian reformation and socio economic transformation.
  22. 22. The GFCS short term priority areas Water Disaster risk reduction Health Agriculture/foo d security 27
  23. 23. The application of science information and products that can stimulate socio economic transformation are ready beyond proof of concept This means that we do not need to pilot them but disseminate and apply them .
  24. 24. Biotechnology, Biogenetics, Biosciences and other innovations as we will learn in the next couple of days are ready for dissemination and application by the ordinary farmers in the countryside The link between science and the farming community will be you-the media. Let the action begin.

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