Ondo First Lady harps on bridging knowledge gap between Researchers, Policy Makers

• Attends 7th NISA Conference

Wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has stressed the need to bridge knowledge gap between policy makers and researchers as a way to achieving sustainability of programmes in the country.

She identified the gap on Tuesday while speaking as a panelist on the topic “Taking Ownership: Sustainability of PEPFAR Programmes” during the Session II, Day 1 of the 7th Nigeria Implementation Science Alliance (NISA) Conference, with the theme: Sustainability of Programmes and Research, holding 13-14, Sept., 2022, at the Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

“The big question is: do we have a synergy between researchers and the policy makers whose role is it to implement the results of researches at the government level? There is the need to create awareness and understanding around the policy makers who are in the positions to effect the implementation of programmes.

“When policy makers have the right understanding of the way things operate, there would be that natural inclination in them to ask the right questions and implementation would become a natural thing for them to do. So, that knowledge gap has to be bridged,” the First Lady said.

The governor’s wife added that researchers should do more than merely converging to convey research findings in conference situations, saying: “When a programme is pronounced by researchers, it is expected that policy makers take certain steps regarding implementation, but the knowledge gap sets it at some point and hinders effective result.

“With the advantage of my various backgrounds, I have the insight that those you expect to play the role of sustainability do not usually understand what there is to be done. Even when such programme cascades to the state level, it again falls into the same hands of policy makers. Something has to be done in this regard.”

Mrs Akeredolu who explained that apart from being the First Lady of a state, her backgrounds in the civil society as a founder of multiple Non Governmental Organisations, private sector investor and retired fishery officer from the Federal civil service put her in good stead with respect to experience in matters that relate to programme implementation.

In her words: “I belong to three words that are of relevance to this conference. And that is the more reason this gathering is of great interest to me. Firstly, I am a retired Federal Fishery Officer after 28 years of service, so I know what happens at the civil service level. I also have a background in civil society as I run about four Non Governmental Organisations, and I am also into the private sector, doing large-scale fish production.

“Among my NGOs is the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) that thrives on medical research, which is why I am very much interested in this conference. In the NGO world, for instance, funding is usually a contentious issue, particularly at the level of programme implementation.”

Anyanwu-Akeredolu also participated in the nominal group Technique Activity (NGT) on the topic: Collaboration between Implementation, Practitioners & Scientists: Challenges and Opportunities. She advised researchers to place priority on specific programmes while noting that doing this would go a long way in helping to achieve better results.

“Let me also add that we need to prioritize what our needs are. We need to answer what policy priorities do we make even at the state level. My experience in Ondo State particularly shows that we have so much of awareness creation to do on breast and cervical cancer. There are also the issues of molestation and gender-based violence.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, lamented the dearth of home-grown data as Nigeria’s perpetual bane in its bid to breakthrough in the areas of scientific research and programme implementation.

The Senior Minister however said the Federal Government already has plans underway toward ensuring that the country resolves its data challenge.

Credit: Debo Akinbami

Photos: Saidu Abdulrahman

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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