By Nigel Gibbs, RTAC Communications Manager
In recognition of Global Media and Information Literacy Week, the Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) is highlighting our work and role in supplying information for the public good. In 2021, the UN General Assembly cited, “the need for the dissemination of factual, timely, targeted, clear, accessible, multilingual and science-based information,” marking the week of October 24-31 as an occasion for stakeholders to review and celebrate the progress achieved towards, “Media and Information Literacy for All.”
Since 2018, RTAC has been dedicated to producing substantiated research-driven reports, papers, case studies, systematic reviews, and other technical documents in the hopes of creating a world where a substantial digital divide and data inequalities do not exist, particularly among – income countries. Our team helps to translate research findings, results, and data into easily digestible, accessible, and actionable products. These items are used to help USAID as well as researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs better demonstrate the impacts and benefits of their work.
“RTAC and the diverse set of nearly a thousand researchers, from more than 400 institutions in 70 plus countries, help to equip decision-makers with the data and research they need to make well-informed decisions. With the rise of so much disinformation and political polarization in the world today, now more than ever is RTAC’s work needed for the public good.”RTAC Project Director Sutherland Miller III
In the past year, we have done research on a wide variety of topics such as early childhood education, unlocking barriers to financing small businesses, food security and conflict, sustainable financing for HIV, and most recently released the Research Translation Toolkit.
The researchers who come to work with RTAC recognize the importance of research translation, a process that is often not prioritized in academia, but a critical process that allows their research to have a positive impact in the often poor and resource-limited regions of the world where their work is most needed. Research translation transforms research findings into a form that is relevant to practitioners or other audiences. This toolkit supports researchers, helping them learn to become self-sufficient and create communication products, such as a factsheet or policy brief; understand the importance of stakeholder analysis to engage with those who share their interest; and undertake a Research-to-Action (R2A) planning process, which guides readers through the development of a plan designed to accomplish research translation goal(s) and objectives.
RTAC has also done Research-to-Action workshops in numerous countries including, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, and Tunisia. These workshops focused on various challenges such as food security, agricultural matters, childhood tuberculosis, neonatal mortality, and other global health issues. Similar work was completed with a research team in Lebanon.
RTAC has also hosted 13 internal webinars and training courses last project year alone and are currently in the process of finishing a set of five online convenings known as the Development, Research, and Innovation Virtual Engagements (DRIVE) series for the development practitioner community. Sessions have featured experts from around the world to explore lessons on capacity building, research utilization, and sustainability, as well as special interest sessions like research dissemination and communication strategies.
RTAC Project Director Sutherland Miller III believes, “RTAC and the diverse set of nearly a thousand researchers, from more than 400 institutions in 70 plus countries, help to equip decision-makers with the data and research they need to make well-informed decisions. With the rise of so much disinformation and political polarization in the world today, now more than ever is RTAC’s work needed for the public good.”