B4FA Media Fellowship – Nigeria

Our Fellowship programme ran in Nigeria from September 2012. In the first round, STI4D and B4FA welcomed 22 Nigerian media professionals from print, radio and TV into the Fellowship. They were an excellent representation of the diversity of the Federal Republic, hailing from cities as geographically spread as Lagos in the south west to Calabar in Cross River State in the south east of Nigeria, and from Sokoto State in the north west across to Jigawa State in the north east, and many other points in between!

Hands-on science experiment in the workshop

The Fellowship programme kicked off with a four day long residential training and dialogue workshop, held on the campus of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan from 24-27 September 2012. Fellows were able to interact with scientific, regulatory and journalism experts from Nigeria, Kenya, the UK and US over the four day period, and were able to explore the grounds, fields and laboratories of IITA on their field trip. Case studies of biosciences work being carried out in Nigeria were reported by senior representatives from IITA, the National Root Crops Research Institute at Umudike, and of course from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.

Group photo at IITA Ibadan

Thereafter, STI4D and B4FA fellows in the country continued to write and publish pieces on key scientific work and regulatory developments in Nigeria and internationally, and have made visits to research institutes throughout Nigeria, facilitated by B4FA, to experience the full spectrum of their work. As a result of feedback, B4FA was delighted to extend the fellowships from the original 6 month timescale to a full 18 months, in order to consolidate the learning and experience. This encouraged even more local reporting and engagement.

IITA researchers explain their work

In 2013, B4FA began a second round of Media Fellowships in Nigeria with a further training and dialogue workshop, held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja from 18-21 March 2013. We welcomed a further 20 media professionals into our family of Fellows, and had the opportunity to invite back a number of our alumni Fellows from the first round. Fellows were again able to interact with scientific, regulatory and journalism experts from West and East Africa, Europe and the US over the four day programme, and made field trips to see the work being done at the Biotechnology Advanced Laboratory, Sheda S&T Complex and NABDA’s Tissue Culture Laboratory. . Case studies were presented by senior researchers from the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, the National Institute for Oil Palm Research, AATF and the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, who had been working in conjunction with IITA and the West African Centre for Crop Improvement.

B4FA fellows in Nigeria continue to research, write and broadcast about latest development in plant breeding, agriculture and crop genetics in Nigeria, Africa and the world. Read the workshop reports and press cuttings below.

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