1. The need for success stories
In the past the RCA Programme was very successful at securing extrabudgetary funding for the programme and was often 60% or more of the annual budget. Between 1979 and 2000, RCA was able to attract more than $11 million in extrabudgetary support from UNDP. For the UNDP Industrial Project, which ran from 1982 to 1991, the extrabudgetary funding from UNDP and the Member States constituted 91% of the $12 million expenditure - the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Technical Cooperation (TC) funding was a mere 9%. Japan and Australia have each contributed several millions of dollars to RCA over the years and other Member States have also donated significant sums to support the project activities.
However over the past 5 years as donor funding has become more difficult across the board, and the RCA has become increasingly depended on the TC Programme for funding the projects Member States have identified as regional priorities. There is the prospect that the RCA cannot depend on the TC Programme for resources in the future, to the same extent as it has in the past.
National RCA Representatives have recognized well in advance the need to attract other sources of funding to the programme to ensure its sustainability and have established a RCA Regional Office in the Republic of Korea, which has as one of its mandates, the achievement of this objective
Attracting donor funding is a complex task. The RCA will need to demonstrate that it has the resources, capability, knowledge and ability to address and contribute to the solution of problems in the region that are having a socio-economic impact. Part of the strategy for delivering the message about what the RCA has to offer is to prepare and maintain a portfolio of achievements in the form of success stories. This would also contribute to the achievement of the RCA vision of earning recognition as a regional resource community in Nuclear Science and Technology capable of providing high impact solutions to development problems in the region.
Although considerable efforts are being made by the RCA Regional Office to publicize RCA activities, they have not been provided with sufficient numbers of success stories to form the basic portfolio required to attract significant donor funding to the programme, Thus, there is a very strong need for the RCA to concentrate on identifying, compiling and preparing as full a selection as possible of its achievements in the form of interesting and well presented success stories.
2. Guidelines for Success Stories
A success story should be able to clearly describe how regional cooperation and the applications of nuclear technology has contributed to the solution of significant problems which have then resulted in socio-economic benefits at the national level.
Examples could be:
||- The introduction of new agronomic practices through RCA projects have resulted in an increase in agricultural productivity and this in turn has lead to local farmers increasing their productivity and income |
- Improvements in the quality of health-care from the RCA projects is resulting in less lost time for workers, which is resulting in higher incomes and providing a boost to local economies;
- Improving productivity and safety of industrial processes through the RCA projects is boosting the output of local industries, increasing employment and benefiting the local economy; and
- Monitoring environmental pollution using technologies transferred through the RCA projects has resulted in the local agencies introducing better control of plant emissions, which has lowered locally the incidence of health-related problems, decreased medical costs, increased local school attendance and level of achievement at school.
Mere completion of activities of a project such as training of personnel should not be considered as a success story. A success story is not a progress report. However the establishment of a new capability and capacity that had the potential to benefit the local community might be something that should be publicized.
A success story may either highlight the impact from “human interest” or “technical interest” point of view and preferably both aspects can be represented. “Human interest” stories will probably come most readily from projects covering Agriculture, Environment and Human Health Sectors, while “technical interest” stories would be mostly from Energy, Industry, Research Reactor and Radiation Protection Thematic Sectors.
Since most success stories would be the result of a combination of contributions from other inputs as well as that from the RCA projects, it would be necessary to highlight the contribution of the RCA Programme. For example, the reduction in cancer deaths in a country could be due to many other factors in addition to improvement of radiotherapy facilities. Claiming credit for the total reduction could affect credibility.
Success stories have to be presented in a manner attractive to the readers, and should be done by a professional communicator, using information provided by RCA stakeholders. Most institutes have a communications unit that deals with public information/publicity issues. Serious consideration should be given to involving these units in the production of the success stories, since it would not only add value to the RCA programme but would also enhance local capabilities to promote what is being achieved in their national nuclear programmes. This approach would also provide the stories within the local cultural context, which should assist in achieving the optimal impact as well as being beneficial in improving and enhancing the general standards of public information and interest at the local level.