If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and nobody hears it fall, does it make a sound?
An article in SciDevNet titled Research on ICT for development ‘lacks African’ voice’ prompted me to wonder why it is that the ‘voices’ of African researchers are not being heard in regard to the potential of ICT applications for development, especially since Africa bears a great burden of poverty, disease and environmental degradation, all of which are targets for strategic reduction via the Millennium Development Goals.
Is it that the research is being done but not being published widely in international peer-reviewed outlets? Or is it that the research is not being done in the first place? How do we get the findings of research carried out in public universities and published in MSc and PhD theses off the dusty library shelves and into the hands of policymakers?
It’s not enough for the African researchers to “speak”… they must also ensure that their voices are being heard in the right forums and by the right audiences. How else will their work have a positive impact on development?