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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.
SciDev.Net is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and several other international development agencies, and it is important both for us and for our donors to be aware of the impact of our material and activities so that we can increase our understanding of its contribution to key areas of development.
For this, we like to know about you and your experiences. So, if you or your colleagues have used any SciDev.Net material to help achieve a significant development-related task please let us know how it has made a difference.
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SciDev.Net helps Sri Lanka tackle food security
“SciDev.Net enables me to be up-to-date with global developments — gets my brain ticking on new innovative approaches!”
director of Sri Lanka's National Science Foundation
Sarath Abayawardana is director of Sri Lanka's National Science Foundation (NSF). His organisation supports and promotes scientific research projects, setting up multidisciplinary research teams and bidding for grants to fund research programmes. Abayawardana tells us he uses SciDev.Net regularly and extensively in his work.
He says SciDev.Net has helped the foundation develop a mission-oriented research programme on food security for Sri Lanka. The programme aims to identify and address the underlying issues threatening food security. Rural farmers with small-holdings, the marginalised urban poor and those affected by the prolonged civil conflict will all benefit.
SciDev.Net reports regularly on food security issues in the developing world, and Abayawardana says that it helps him gather the background information he needs to underpin the research programme. "The research programme is in its very early stages now, but continued use of SciDev.Net will help us implement it" he says.
Abayawardana told us he also uses SciDev.Net to develop his staff, building capacity among his research administrators and encouraging them to maintain a professional approach to their work.
Our weekly email alert has even inspired him to create an e-newsletter, "ScinnoTech Alert" circulated to about 2,500 scientists and other professionals within Sri Lanka. Abayawardana is fully aware of the benefits that come from encouraging the exchange of scientific information. Thanks to SciDev.Net, his e-newsletter is fostering just such a culture in Sri Lanka.
SciDev.Net helps develop policies in Southern Sudan
"It has helped me and my colleagues to achieve great things in my work as well as my region"
Manila Keji Albino,
inspector for environmental health, working for the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment in Southern Sudan
The government of Southern Sudan, formed after Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement, has few formal policies, laws or regulations. So Manila Keji Albino has turned to SciDev.Net for ideas on how to improve health, the environment and energy policies.
Within the Ministry he has worked on developing an environmental policy for Southern Sudan. "I really appreciate SciDev.Net for the knowledge that I gain through reading their articles" says Albino, explaining that "individually I am capable of solving environmental problems".
Southern Sudan faces land degradation, poor sanitation, water pollution and urbanisation, alongside the larger problem of climate change. Albino is part of the Southern Sudan National Environment Association, a group tackling some of these issues by educating the community. They aim to help people understand their environment so they can live sustainably.
Albino knows that "sharing ideas is very important in applying science to development". He uses SciDev.Net material to help the local government educate local communities and encourage them to get involved in solving local problems such as how to treat water taken directly from the river, how to raise awareness of water diseases and their management, and how best to use water for agriculture and forestry. SciDev.Net has also helped him recognise that climate change is real.
SciDev.Net's international material on issues similar to those that Albino faces, as well as on new technologies and their potential applications in developing countries, are particularly valuable.
And Albino wants to see us doing even more: "countries such as Southern Sudan are lacking skills in technology, development and decision making, and need support from scientific communities" he says.