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Thursday, March 02, 2006

IDRC lifts WFSJ with N90.1m

International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has provided initial funding worth $800,000 Canadian dollar, about N90,177,503.71 to uplift the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) on its three-year Peer-to-Peer Development and Support for Science Journalism.

This was announcement recently at the 2006 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in St. Louis, United States (US).

A press statement jointly endorsed by Senior Media Advisor at IIDC, Ms Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé and Executive Director at WFSJ, Jean-Marc Fleury, said that the project will pair 60 science journalists from Africa and the Middle East with Northern and Southern counterparts.

This network of peers would capitalise on the contributions of WFSJ members, both journalists and associations, and will strengthen science journalism in developing countries.

President of IDRC Ms Maureen O’Neil was quoted as saying, “Science journalism has a fundamental role to play in building the capacities of national research and development programs”.

Stressing that the initiative would strengthen science journalism in developing countries and help make sure that science and technology contributes in the best way possible to the well being of the populations of those countries.”

For the President of WFSJ, Mr. Wilson da Silva, who also is the editor, Australian science magazine, Cosmos, “We hope to make a difference in the professional lives of science journalists in the developing world – initially in the Middle East and Africa, but later in Asia and Latin America”.

Commenting, Secretary of the African Science Writers Federation, Mr. Diran Onifade, who is with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), “This will certainly help bridge the capacity challenge we face as science journalists on the African continent”.

The project will further extend the peer-to-peer program through the twinning of nascent and established science journalism associations at the regional, national, and international levels.

IDRC is one of the world’s leading institutions in the generation and application of new knowledge to meet the challenges of international development.

The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental international organization representing science and technology journalists’ associations.

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