Impact & learning
SciDev.Net strives to continually learn and understand from its audiences. The more we understand our impact the more we can respond to the evolving needs of people using our website and services, and provide products that offer enduring value.
The SciDev.Net Learning Series helps to raise our profile within the sector through innovative research and easy to understand content. It takes our collected information and presents it in accessible reports that can be used to help you to improve your work too. The series is part of the M&E programme and provides valuable lessons regarding the mainstreaming of evidence for policymaking, development and when building a culture of science.
IIED found the Mapping the Impacts of Science Journalism inspiring, and it has contributed to our analysis and understanding of how IIED affects changes in behaviour, knowledge and debate.
Clair Grant-Salmon - Audience Development Manager, Communications at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Stories of impact
We want to understand more about how our information in used, and what impact it has had — both on individuals' activities and on the wider social context of work.
As a regular user of the SciDev.Net website, we know that you value our content, but we would like to understand more about how you use it. What impact has it had – on your own activities and in the wider social context in which you work?
This information will help us to provide you with the information that matters most to you and to increase our contribution to key areas of development. The results of last year's survey were also published in our popular Learning series report, Mapping the impact of science journalism.
- Media-related stories
Geoffrey Kamadi, a journalist working for Reuters Alertnet, Spore Magazine, the New Agriculturist, the Daily Nation and The Standard, based in Kenya, reported that "as a freelance science journalist, I find SciDev.Net quite useful. Its high-quality content not only keeps me thoroughly informed but gives me ideas which I develop into stories for both local and online publications" (2013).
Bennen Buma Gana, a journalist currently working for Cameroon Radio and Television, said that after completing a workshop run by SciDev Net in Cameroon in 2005, he was able to write for the site as a freelancer. During his current role, he has "used the information on the site sometimes to help out in the newsroom and to help develop other reports for the radio". Specifically, his media organisation has "used much of the information from SciDev.Net in our association CAMAM — Cameroon Media Against Malaria. Here we have been able to involve the nation in [a] veritable fight against malaria." (2013)
Liliam Lee Hernández, a journalist working for a TV network in Cuba (Sistema Informativo de la Televisión Cubana), said that she uses our content as a reference and source for a section of a weekly news programme that discusses science, technology and environmental issues. She adds that SciDev.Net provides a different focus and coverage of topics that are not otherwise covered in other media outlets with a global reach. (2013)
Charles Ogallo, a journalist at Baraka FM Radio (Kenya), told us he uses our content extensively, particularly for scientific and environmental issues. Adding:
SciDev.Net has be an eye opener to me and has managed to help me achieve more journalistic benefits through the application of science to development stories - I have won a number of fellowship awards based on stories written with a focus on development. I am currently a fellow with United Nations Climate Change Media and member of African CDM Journalists Club (2014).
Angela Lovell, a freelance writer, said:
SciDev.Net is always a useful tool for me to find background information and current, new research worldwide into the many subjects I write about as a freelance writer. I write primarily in the agricultural sector and SciDev.Net always provides interesting, balanced research details that I am able to pursue with the researchers and scientists involved if needed. It is always a base source for me to explore new themes and often my daily newsfeed from SciDev.Net prompts new topics that form the basis of an idea I can successfully pitch as stories or features to many different media outlets…I am not in the development field, but by writing many stories about current developments in the agricultural area and disseminating that information to people in the ag industry I feel that I have helped to contribute to this sector in a meaningful way (2014)
- Stories from academic and researchers
Henriette Brreunis, a Clinical Research Coordinator at Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Canada told us (2014):
“The assistant director of the Himalayan Institute of Canada suggested to design a volunteer project to conduct at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust in Dehradun, India. Researching…I found SciDev.Net and read on September 12, 2012 that India plans to tighten regulations for clinical trials. That inspired me to write a proposal to Dr. Saini, the CEO of The Cancer Research Institute of the HIHT, to present workshops in Responsible Research and Good Clinical Practice. The proposal was gracefully accepted and in February 2013 five workshops are being presented to faculty, PhD students, and nursing PhD students of the HIHT…Attendees of the workshops will have a better understanding of ethical conduct in clinical research and apply this in future clinical research projects.”
Prof. Soodursun Jugessur, a scientist working at the University of Mauritius, said:
Many articles have given me greater analytical perspective that I use for policy and guidance in education and NGO work… Through my interventions in public sector, education and NGO (www.sukhiparivaar.org ), I have succeeded in making some mind-set changes (2014).
Grae T. Bengwayan works at Benguet State University (Philippines), he is the Adviser of the student publication and teaches part time under the Rural Development program. He said:
I encourage my students to register at SciDev.Net for them to be aware of SciDev and for learn from the articles and used this as reference materials for their research. In a nutshell, SciDev.Net is rich reference material for graduate and undergraduate students. I encourage young campus press writers to continue writing science articles from research results, this has been my passion, and it is strengthened by SciDev,Net. In my role as adviser, I usually read the science journalism portion, and download some (e.g. Reporting Research) for my reference. On a general note, when I read SciDev.Net, it's like enrolling in a class, because I get educated, informed and motivated (2014).
Juan Carlos Godoy, Pro-Secretary of International Relations at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina, told us that in his region it is still difficult to have access to quality content around scientific policies in general, and that SciDev.Net fills that gap by providing quality content that is in tune with the topics discussed in the main outlets and scientific publications in Spanish.
Luis Argueta Antillón is a member of the directive board at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of El Salvador and he told us that he uses our content for proposals and implementation of higher education strategies and policies. As a result there is more awareness and interest for curricula change, to include technological and scientific advances, in order to increase the quality and appropriateness of higher education.
- NGO stories of impact
David King, agricultural economist working as volunteer consultant at Soro-soro Ibaba Development Cooperative, said:
We use SciDev.Net to identify innovations and possible developments on a local level that are relevant and useful for the cooperative – particularly the R&D section – as well as its members (around 18,000 families as members) and its partners which include universities and some policy makers in the Philippines to which we send policy recommendations. In particular we have used findings from SciDev.Net for our sustainable organic production efforts. Findings and reports from SciDev.Net have been crucial in our development and trials using BIO-N, a nitrogen fixing inoculant as a substitute /complement for organic fertilizers. We have also used findings on post-harvest technologies for organic vegetable preservation, packaging and storage. SciDev.Net content around environmental sustainability is important for bolstering our green farm program and getting members to address the problem of what was previously regarded as animal waste into value chain enterprises for organic fertiliser, biogas use (for both heating/sterilization purposes and power generation for our own office), and the food processing centre (2014).
María Sonia Laura Valdez, Innovations manager at Promotion of sustainable shared knowledge/Promocion de la Sustentabilidad de Conocimientos compartidos (Bolivia), and she said they use SciDev.Net information to orient research efforts within the organisation. She added that a SciDev.Net article about a network of meteorologists in Kenya based on indigenous knowledge and supported by a university in England has been instrumental in the work the organisation is involved, related to developing a network of agro-climatic information based on rural people's knowledge (2014).
Amy Angel, an agricultural economist at the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development, believes that:
SciDev.Net is a very effective tool to learn of recent policy developments and research results. I consider it an important resource to keep my knowledge base up to date … I use examples of best practices in agricultural policy through articles I have read on SciDev.Net (2013).
Majed Velasquez, regional coordinator at UNICEF (Peru), told us that he uses our content for policy advocacy and that as a result he has been able to demonstrate the importance of indigenous knowledge (2014).
Marilyn Pifer, who works for the not-for-profit organisation CRDF Global, told us that "SciDev.Net stories provide useful background information for us as we design development-related projects and point us toward possible partners" (2013).
- Impact stories from policy makers
Raymond Onyenezi Ogbu, a public relations officer working for the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion in Nigeria, told us:
SciDev.Net has actually made me understand the level of underdevelopment in the African continent … It has exposed me to the fact that HIV, for instance, is not the end of the life of a victim [and that] people should be able to know their status before it develops to full blown AIDS. This website is wonderful. It has made me not stigmatise HIV patients anymore and also spread the news on how not to contract the virus in my working place (2013).
Teresita Superioridad Baluyos, a Public Information Officer working for the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office No. 10 in Philippines, believes that:
“SciDev.Net materials are very informative and useful to the field of work I am in. News and features are very relevant and I make use of them not only for my personal advancement but also for the office I work for and the community I am in. I get to know more about what's happening in the other parts of the globe and it has widen [my] knowledge, [I am] happy that people and policy makers are now recognizing the important role of science in development. It has become a regular routine for me to check SciDev.Net, [I get] excited [about] what's new [and] I share the information [on] my own radio programs too.” (2013)
Geneive Brown Me, is a Techpreneur, E-marketing consultant and former Caribbean diplomat specialising in diaspora strategies now serving U.S. and Caribbean-based public and private sector organizations . She told us that she uses our content for her online platform shares material with policy makers in the Caribbean region. She added "I believe that your content and my research have been catalysts to help bring about greater attention to the role of science and technology in development of the Caribbean. I've written an article on the subject which was published last year in Science and Diplomacy Magazine. Your site provided useful background research." (2014)
Brice Montfraix works for the Indian Ocean Commission (an intergovernmental organisation) and he said that SciDev.Net was a model for the development of his own portal around adaptation to climate change , where he links relevant articles and content to SciDev.Net too. He also engages with our content for benchmarking (2014).
Nizar facilitator, a consulting engineer working for the Ministry of Health in Iraq, told us that SciDev.Net's content is downloaded to the website they use to collect research as evidence to help correct the situation faced by the country (or an institution or a sector), and they can all take advantage of these resources. He also shares our content with a wide number of specialists in the field of engineering research and management, broadening understanding of science and technology (2014).
Guido Martin Melgarejo Burgos, member of the Peruvian Nationalist Party, told us that they have used our content to increase awareness and create action around water conservation in the region, particularly in the city of Ica which has severe water issues. He added that such efforts have been successful and that for the first time there are not a lot of water carnivals in the city, therefore better-using water (2014).
- Stories of impact from the private sector
Muluken Ahmed, Project Supervision Engineer and Disaster Reduction Specialist at Amhara Design and Supervision Works(ADSWE) in Ethiopia said:
I use Scidev.Net's lessons learned and research findings as basic resources for public project management efficiency and sustainability. Methodologies of research are also basic for developmental research on risk reduction that assisted me as second profession…[as a result] I have improved my understanding and applied science to sustain development through the scientific method of project management after using SciDev.Net resource materials (2014).
Ingrid Schiefloe - Communication Manager - from Sahara Forest Project in Norway - told us that her company use "SciDev.net to check what is new and what is hot…[and] to check if our activities are in accordance with current trends" (2014).
Myra Donnelley - VP of Resource Development (Global Health) - Eniware, LLC told us:
I use SDN to keep abreast of innovations. We try to amplify sector awareness by tweeting and FBing stories… We are in the testing phase of product development. We expect to rely on you even more as we move into field testing (2014).
Andrew Kluth, a consultant working for Cambridge Sustainability Consultants, said he uses our content to "understanding cutting edge and relevant research" and as a result “[I have] being able to advise clients on issues in more depth as I have an understanding of leading edge thinking." (2014).
- Publishing with us
1) Within a week of writing "Farmers in Africa should switch to bio pesticides" (12 April 2012), Manuele Tamò — country representative of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Benin — was contacted by the International Development Research Centre through its regional representative in West Africa, inviting him to write a concept note for a project of up to US $500,000 dollars regarding the implementation of ideas expressed in the article, "particularly concerning the cottage industry production of bio pesticides by groups of women and youth". The author believes that "this is an important achievement which would not have been possible without having published the article". Tamò also received five direct email messages from scientists who want to collaborate with him and from bio pesticide companies who are interested in promoting and selling their products in West Africa. During the same period, the author was contacted by a Kenyan journalist working for ScienceAfrica whom requested advice again about a whitefly problem in his country.
Within a month of publication, Tamò reported that he worked with the NGO mentioned in his article, inviting the public and the press to attend an open day in Glazoue (central Benin), where the three enterprises — also referred to in his opinion piece — were present: the neem oil-producing factory, the bio pesticide producing factory and the factory processing the by-products of these two into bio fertilizers. This resulted in the hiring of two interns by the private companies that learned how to produce the virus for bio pesticides.
The national TV station filmed the event and produced a 25-minute documentary including various interviews. During the same period, Tamò also mentioned that a group of trainees of the World Foundation of Science Journalists visited his station. The author then had the opportunity to make a presentation on his organisation's activities on bio control and bio pesticides, which was reported back to the press.
2) Shortly after publication, John Waugh was contacted by the Scientific & Technical Advisory Panel for the Global Environmental Facility to discuss the article he wrote for SciDev.Net on 8 February 2012, "Support community mapping for climate adaptation". Within a month of publication he was invited to a workshop organised by Google Earth aimed at people who may influence the use of mapping technologies – "I think I have the article to attribute to that" says Waugh. Within six months of publication of his article, Waugh had been invited to give a lecture by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the United Nations Environmental Programme as a result of his work. The author believes this also bolstered the case for additional projects, adding that there were active discussions on follow-on projects.
Finally Waugh reported that the Asian Development Bank expanded the pilot project he wrote about to all of the Cook Islands and is using the methodology in other Pacific Island states. However, in this specific instance, the author "cannot tell to what extent the article would have influenced this" but believes that it has "however incrementally contributed to the growing interest in the approach".
3) Dominic Kniveton, professor of climate science and society at the University of Sussex, and Max Martin, doctoral candidate at the same university, wrote “Migration myths hold back successful climate adaption” (14 February 2013). The authors were contacted by email by Nalaka Gunawardene, honorary director of TVE Asia Pacific and SciDev.Net board member, and were provided with interesting comments from South Asian environmental journalists with whom the article was shared.
A few months after publication the article was found to be contributing to policy debate on climate-related migration in general, and in Bangladesh in particular. It is part of the resource material for a workshop of high-level government officials and other stakeholders our partner RMMRU (www.rmmru.org/) hosted in Dhaka. The workshop, entitled 'New Knowledge on Climate Change and Migration in Bangladesh', is largely based on qualitative findings from the author’s study.