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SciDev.Net Podcast: ‘Flying donkey’ drones, biobanks and more


In this month’s programme, we examine how the Ebola emergency has led to new forms of humanitarian response. One is the use of music to educate people about safety practices using accessible language and forms. We interviewed Carlos Chirinos, a visiting professor at New York University, United States, where he specialises in radio and development. He says that West African communities tend to trust musicians more than doctors as sources of information, making them powerful allies when spreading public health messages.

We learn how biobanks, which store biological samples, are helping Africa foster local research capacity and what challenges the collection and management of genetic material present.
Shivaji Pandey, a special advisor to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, shares his views on the organisation’s 2014 report on food insecurity. It highlights significant progress towards the global eradication of hunger, but points to remaining political challenges.
We also talk to Jonathan Ledgard, director of the technology initiative Afrotech, about ‘flying donkeys’: cargo drones that, within a couple of years, could be delivering blood to remote parts of Uganda. There are hopes that these drones will transform transport in Africa by opening up rural areas and reducing urban congestion.
Finally, opinion and special features editor Anita Makri tells us about SciDev.Net’s upcoming ‘Spotlight’ on urban sustainable development.

Podcast minutes
Minutes Description
1.55  The role of radio and rap music to disseminate health information in West Africa in the face of the Ebola crisis
7.20  Shivaji Pandey talks about the State of food insecurity in the world 2014, released by the FAO, and comments on the progress made so far towards hunger eradication
14.25  How bio banks may help foster better research in Africa and what ethical and practical challenges they pose to researchers
24.20  Flying donkeys! How cargo drones will help Africa improve its transportation system
29.35  What’s next on SciDev.Net: opinion and special features editor Anita Makri talks about the upcoming spotlight on sustainable urban development

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