Why consider Women in Agriculture Education?

I was recently in Maputo, Mozambique
attending the 4th Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) biennial conference. RUFORUM is a
consortium of 42 Universities across Africa and a platform for catalyzing
change is African Universities.  I had
gone for a consultancy to train young social reporters and journalism students in Mozambique who had been tasked
to cover the proceedings of the event in real time via social media.  I have in the past conducted similar
trainings but this was a special one given the nature of the trainees. It was a
mixture of English, French and Portuguese speakers. After successfully
completing my trainings, I had an opportunity of attending some of the plenary
sessions as I monitored my ‘students’ do their work.
Conducting a training for social reporters and journalism students.
It was not a surprise that one of those
sessions that I chose to attend, focused on the role of women in Agriculture
and why they should not be ignored in institutions of higher
learning and specifically Agricultural education.
In her opening remarks, Her Excellence Dhlamini Nkosazana Zuma
the chairperson of the African Union commission mentioned that transforming
Agriculture in Africa required innovative scientific research, educational and
training approaches.  She added that
transformation demands a bold vision backed by bold actions.  Ms. Dhlamini said that Africans from all walks
of life must contribute to a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth, so
that Africa can take its rightful place in the world. By 2025, all young
persons under 25 in the world will be African. They must therefore be
intellectually empowered with relevant skills especially in science and technology.
she added. On the role of women in Africa’s
development, Ms. Dhlamini had this to say 

“Women not only make up half of Africa’s population but also produce the other half, they form 70% of African workforce.
We must empower them. We must have deliberate strategies to ensure girls’ access
to higher education and more women in the academia”

She challenged participants when she
mentioned that no country has ever developed on primary education alone and
emphasized the value and need to focus on Higher education. In her opinion,
Africa needs to have its own agenda and pursue it. “We do not need the UN to tell us to take our children to school”
she said.
H.E Dhlamini Zuma Chairperson AU commission
More often than not, we do what people
give us money for and not what we are supposed to do as Africans. No country
has ever developed only on donor money,we must put in a lot of our resources. 
We must look at new Technologies like
elearning to give us more access to education. Universities must be innovative
enough to adopt to new technologies and they must have both physical and
virtual learning spaces to give skills to more students. We should not miss the
opportunity that technology offers. Innovators must innovate to replace the
hand held hoe for Women.  She concluded.
Women remain invisible, in spite of their presence.

Graca Machel the keynote speaker of this
conference started her address with a reminder that every one of us had to have a responsibility of how we change Africa.  It
should no longer be about “Reducing the percentage of people dying of hunger”
but rather totally eradicating it from Africa. Graca firmly asserted.
We get comfortable talking about numbers
but what impact do we have on the lives of the people we represent? 43% of
African Children are stunted, that means that they can never attain their intellectual
capacity. To Ms. Graca, poverty for African is no longer the issue of hunger
but rather the intellectual nourishment.
As a way of walking the talk, Ms. Graca,
with the support of African Development bank has established an African women
Network focusing on Women in Finance with a plan to establish networks of Women in Agriculture especially woman in Business. She was concerned that women are not well
represented in Agricultural services yet it is important to improve women’s representation
in policy decision making processes. There is very little attention given to
the roles women play in agriculture and their specific needs and priorities. To
realize the potential of Agriculture as a source of livelihood for many
Africans, We must recognize the roles women can play in Agriculture.
Why
Women?
The AfricanDevelopment Bank estimates that 90 per
cent of Africa’s food is produced by women in spite of the fact that few women
hold titles to the land they work. Because of this, rural women’s contribution
to Africa’s agriculture is important for the persistence and success of their
families, communities and local and national economies, and to poverty
reduction and sustainable development.

Ms. Graca Machel gave a keynote address & focused on
the role of women in Africa

According to a research conducted by
RUFORUM in 2010, Women play a vital role in Agriculture yet are poorly
represented in higher education with 28% of student in universities Agriculture
programs, less than a quarter in agriculture faculties and 20% women
researchers.
An MOU between RUFORUM and AWARD was signed to encourage Women’s
Participation in Agricultural Research and Higher Education

The big question remains, what must be done to
address the gender gaps and concerns in Agriculture and science in Africa?

For more details about this conference, please visit:

Flickr to see some of the pictures 
Blogs: Over 43 were written by the social reporters

Citizen Journalism: A paradigm shift in reporting on Agriculture

“Reporting on Agriculture is not sexy” has become a new cliché these days.

Many young journalists have been made to believe that the area of agriculture lacks the right stories that can draw attention and increase readership, viewership or listenership to their journalistic work. Unless, of course, these are stories about agricultural related disasters like floods, famine, hunger and or the negative effects of climate change.
A lot of print media (New papers, magazines etc) and broadcast media (TV, radios etc) are braced with headlines and feature stories on Celebrities, political scandals, riots, finances and many more but very few look at all these from an Agricultural point of view, simply because they think it is not catchy and therefore will not attract the attention of many.

While we are all aware about the role of journalism in reporting agriculture, we know that many times, these journalists have downplayed crucial stories on agriculture and consistently use excuses such as, “Agricultural Lingo is too technical for their audience”. Other have blamed it on their editors who never approve agricultural related work pieces.

Taking the bull by the horn

These excuses have always existed and the blame game in the newsrooms is not about to end, however something can be done by another kind of journalists, Citizen Journalists.
Gone are the days when publishing news globally was an act that had been the exclusive domain of established journalists and media companies.  Today, people like you and I without professional journalism training can use the tools of modern technology and the global distribution of the Internet to create, augment or fact-check media.
This means that anyone with access to the Internet or even a cell phone can report, start a blog, chat and or tweet. As a result, it is becoming cheaper and easier for individuals and organizations with the right skills to publish their own newsletters, produce both audio and video materials in addition to hosting public chats. However, it is vital to not that while the media scene is changing globally, mainstream media still carries weight and has influence in setting the public agenda.

Great initiatives in using technology for agricultural reporting

According to the Farm Radio International 2011 report , radio is the most widely used medium for disseminating information to rural audiences across Africa.
Radio can reach communities at the end of the development road – people who live in areas without phones or electricity. Radio reaches people who cannot read or write. Even in very poor communities, radio penetration is vast. It is estimated there are over 800 million radios in sub-Saharan Africa.
Just like many other ICTs, radio has one major limitation. It has been a one-way medium that reaches farmers in their homes and or fields and on its own, radio has had limited means of interacting with listeners because of the one way flow of information.  And even if it’s true that radio is the most widely used medium, its ownership, control and greatest percentage of listenership is limited to mainly the men despite the fact that majority of those involved in agricultural production are women.

It’s because of such limitations that we see the rise in the use of mobile technology for agriculture by organizations like Grameen Foundation through APPlab that thrives to avail farmers with relevant and timely information regarding their products. We also continue to see mobile innovation such as M-Farm an integrated and customizable ICT platform designed to help stakeholder in agricultural value chain communicate with each other efficiently, establish and maintain business relationships and manage the flow of goods and services among them.
Because of the power of these simple initiatives, many organizations have begun motivating youth to develop applications that support Agriculture. A case in point is CTA which is organizing a hackathon in partnership with East African ICT hubs and labs with an aim is to highlight the potential of ICT applications in agriculture and to support the development of ICT innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture especially by young people.
Such practical initiatives and many more are what will change the paradigm of how agriculture is reported about.

As we continue to advocate for more coverage of agricultural stories especially among the youth, we must note that this advocacy must be holistic and look at all categories of youth from farmers, activists, techpreneurs, business, students, young professionals and most important young journalists because they are the ones who will tell the story.

A radio for the Farmer

In a typical village in rural
Uganda and many parts of Africa, a radio is a very powerful tool which is
mainly used to receive information within communities.  It’s used to broadcast lots of information
ranging from death Announcements to talk shows about issues affecting the
community. The benefits of radio, just like the mobile phone is amplified by
the fact,that the adoption of this technology in some rural areas has occurred
much faster than with other ICTs. In a country like Uganda where mobile
technology has quickly become much more cost effective for telecommunication
provision, Radio is used to boost its further adoption, use and application.
According to the farm Radio
International 2011 report, Radio is the most widely used medium for
disseminating information to rural audiences across Africa. Radio can reach
communities at the end of the development road – people who live in areas
without phones or electricity. Radio reaches people who cannot read or write.
Even in very poor communities, radio penetration is vast. It is estimated there
are over 800 million radios in sub-Saharan Africa.  http://www.farmradio.org/pubs/farmradio-ictreport2011.pdf
The Gender factor
Photo by: Edward Echwalu
Just like many other ICTs, Radio
has one major limitation. It has been a one-way medium that reaches farmers in
their homes and or fields and on its own, radio has had limited means of
interacting with listeners because of the one way flow of information.  And even if it’s true that radio is the most
widely used medium, it’s ownership, control and greatest percentage of
listenership is limited to mainly the men despite the fact that majority of
those involved in Agricultural production are women.
The Question:
How have you successfully used
radio as an ICT to reach not only men but also women for projects that benefit
both of them for example on Health, Education, business, Governance? Share your
thoughts.

“CLIMATE SMART” AGRICULTURE INITIATIVES WILL SAVE AFRICA

Is
Africa not fulfilling her Agricultural Potential? Will Africa ever be food
secure? What role can the youth play in the agricultural value chain? And what’s
this CLIMATE CHANGE ALL ABOUT? 

The questions are endless yet there seem to be
no answers to them.
When the CLIMATE changes, does
that mean anything to you? Does it affect food production, security and yields?
I think it’s high time AFICAN adapted to Climate change.

At the recent Food Agriculture and
Natural resources policy analysis Network (FARNPAN) annual conference that I
attended in Swaziland , Dr Sepo Hachigonta the FANRPAN climate Change
Coordinator said that, Climate change possess a real risk to the future of
farming and food security in Africa, thus all stakeholders including policy
makers, researchers, scientists and farmers should engage to find solutions.
Climate change impacts are much
localised and hence some areas are more vulnerable than others. Therefore
African Governments need to spearhead initiatives of climate proofing
Agriculture with all partners involved in climate change adaptation strategies.
The capacity of policy analysts, scientists and Journalists must be enhanced in
the fields of Agriculture, Climate and socio-economics to collectively build a
strong base of evidence on cropping systems to inform adaptation policies and
investment decisions. It’s also important to build the capacity of young
researchers on climate issues and on how the environment interacts with social,
human and economic sectors.
“A
key strategy of managing risk and vulnerability associated with Climate change
is developing and implementing evidence based policies and programs that
respond to local realities and priorities”
For a country like Uganda who’s
economy is dominated by the agricultural sector, which accounts for 41.6% of
the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 85% of the export earnings and 80% of
employment opportunities with the youngest population yet highest youth
unemployment in the world,  (World Bank
report on Africa Development Indicators (ADI) 2008/2009. Fifty six (56%).This is an indicator that in order to achieve
meaningful development programms and projects, there is need to involve the
youth and have the programs youth oriented. Is there any role that the youth in
Uganda are playing to achieve climate smart agriculture and initiatives that
will assist farmers to climate proof agriculture? 
This is what bloggers and Journos ought to understand about
reporting on climate change. 

FOOD!! ARE THE YOUTH RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS SECURITY?

It’s BLOG ACTION DAY once again and this year’s theme is FOOD. Sharing my thoughts with you all

Since
late August 2011, I have been travelling from one country to another attending
a number of conference. I just realised that in one way or another, the issue
of FOOD featured so much in all the three conferences.

While some people in some parts of the
world are fighting obesity, others in another part of the world are starving to
death because they have no access to food.
The
first of these series of conferences I went for was the One Young World summit2011 that took place in Zurich Switzerland from 1st to 4th
September. With a scholarship from MTN, I was amazed at the number of young people
who had convened to talk about issues that are currently affecting the world.
One of them was HEALTH.  The keynote
speaker for the health panel was TED prize winner Jamie Oliver of FoodRevolution
who spoke about global Obesity.
Some
of my tweets during the session on health and food with the hash tag (#fixhealth) were: 

·        
“You and I need to
educate each other about the food that we eat”
·        
“We need to act
against wasting food”
·        
“We need to
respect the fact that we have food and other don`t”
·        
“We all have
passion for food, Yes, but do we have respect for farmers”
·        
“We need to change
our lifestyle and change our eating habits too”
·       “As we fight hunger
and starvation in Africa, we should also sort out the issue of obesity in   the
US and Europe”.
·        
“Food is a basic
need and a human right”
·        
“The general
children are borne in a junk food culture”
·        
“Food Security is
not necessarily about improving production but increasing access to food”.

 

The Second was the Food, Agriculture and Natural
Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Annual High Level Regional Food
Security Multi-Stakeholder Policy Dialogue 2011 which was held from 19th to
23rd September 2011 in Mbabane (Swaziland). The theme of this year’s
annual regional dialogue was “Advocating
for the active engagement of the youth in the agriculture value chain
“.
 Top on the agenda was the issue of how
youth can be engaged in achieving food security on the African continent. From
the discussions, it was evident that few youth engage in Agriculture and yet
the continent`s largest population is that of the young people.  Her Majesty, Queen Mother Ntombi, Indlovukazi of Swaziland
received the food security policy leadership award for her role in great role
in Agricultural initiatives in Swaziland including one on the Marula fruit
seed. Read more http://nawsheenh.blogspot.com/2011/09/fanrpan-annual-high-level-regional-food.html
The question that remained on everyone`s mind was how we can make agriculture `Sexy`
and profitable to the youth.

The
final conference was the second Global Knowledge share Fair http://www.sharefair.net/share-fair-11-rome/about-the-fair/en/
As
the world mourned world icons like Nobel prize winner Wangari and  Apple`s Steve Jobs how many thought of the
thousand dying of starvation just 
because they cannot afford a meal?
And
who thinks that youth have a great role to play for the world and most
especially Africa to achieve food security?

Information Poverty: A barrier to Agricultural Productivity in Rural areas.

The agricultural sector is one of the most under exploited in many African Countries today. In Uganda alone, about 80% of the now approximately 32 million people http://data.worldbank.org/country/uganda  are rural based and depend almost entirely on Agriculture at various Levels of livelihood.
Information poverty is the absolute lack of accurate and timely Agricultural information to effect positive change in this case in the Agriculture Sector. Much as it is believed by many, that access to timely information by rural communities cannot only increase agricultural productivity but enhance social and economic development, many farmers in rural areas lack even the basic access to information.
Can ICTs bridge the Information Poverty gap?
Technologies affects all aspects of life be it social, economic or political. It’s therefore important to understand the role technology can play in Agriculture; to increase productivity, reduce costs as well as increase on the customer base. ICTs have been used as enablers in other sectors like Education, Entrepreneurship, health and sports but their adoption, usage and application in Agriculture is low despite the big role agriculture plays in society.
The inability to access accurate and timely information by rural farmers on climate change, market prices and best practices has negatively affected the final out put in terms of yields and profits. ICTs can play a big role is solving the problem of information poverty among rural farmers. The mobile phone whose penetration into Africa alone is over 500M http://ht.ly/37Ks7 a hand tool that can be used for several purposes because of its ability to combine text, Audio and Video functionality in addition to its ability to cut across literacy levels(Farmers are able to communicate in their local languages). The community radios, Telecenters/Information resource centre and print Media like farmer Magazines are all ICTs that farmers can use to access agricultural information.

MobileActive Video: Mobile phones in rural development & agriculture

Way Forward

Despite a number of challenges faced by the Agricultural sector, there are some things to consider inorder to bridge the Agricultural divide. Some of them are;
·          -Actively involving the Youth in Agricultural initiatives because being the biggest users of ICTs, their potential can be tapped into to divert their skills to Agriculture. They need to start looking at Agriculture as a source of income(Agrobusiness) and not as a dirty job like it has been potryed to them.
·         The agricultural projects must be very Gender sensitive right from the start. In most African Counties, women dominate in agricultural production yet the men do lots of marketing. It’s important to let each Gender play a role right from production to marketing in order to achieve Agricultural food security.
·         Agriculturalists need to work very closely with Journalists. Media plays a very big role in changing the perception people have towards agriculture as a dirty job and a sector of failures. Since journalists set the news agenda, they have to be well informed such that they can document agricultural success stories and stop focusing on only agricultural disasters like famine and floods.
·         Take advantage of New and social media to educate, inform, motivate and involve a number of different stakeholders about the role agriculture can play in economic development of society.

I am a finalist in the ARDYIS Youth Essay Contest: How I made it !!

It was the very first of it’s kind; The ARDYIS Youth essay  Contest which focused on Youth, ICT in Agriculture and Rural Development aimed at identifying innovative solutions to challenges faced by youth in agriculture and rural areas using Information and Communication Technologies.
The essay contest which was open to young people, aged 18 – 25 years old, from urban or rural areas of Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific countries attracted 180 youth applications and only  12 finalists from the six regions were shortlisted. I was among the Young women and professionals who applied and I answered the question on “How young people are using ICTs innovetatively in Agriculture” with a case of a young fruit grower Mr. Gilbert Egwel from Northern Uganda in Apac district.

On 13th October 2010, the Finalists were announced and saying that I was happy would  be an understatement. I must say that I was humbled being among the best in Eastern Africa . The list of the finalists is………….

West Africa:
– Inoussa Traore (Burkina Faso)
– Itodo Samuel Anthony (Nigeria)
Central Africa :
– Dolly Angela Ngandjou Mela (Cameroon)
– Gabriel Dacko Goudjo (Cameroon)
East Africa
– Chris Ngige Mwangi (Kenya)
– Maureen Agena (Uganda)
Southern Africa
– Gerald Musakaruka Mangena (Zimbabwe)
– Isaac Chanda (Zambia)
Caribbean
– Samantha Kaye, Denise Christie (Jamaica)
– Tyrone Christopher Hall (Jamaica)
Pacific
– Riten Gosai Chand (Fiji)
– Ruben Nui (Papua New Guinea)
The jury and organizers warmly congratulated finalists. As specified in the rules of the competition, the
winners will be announced after the evaluation of oral presentations of the short-listed essays by their authors in front of the jury. These oral presentations will take place in South Africa on 22 and 23 November 2010, as part of the CTA/NPCA Week events organized by CTA and the NPCA (NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency) from 22 to 26 November 2010. The 6 winners of the contest will be
announced on 24 November 2010. One winner per ACP region, and an overall winner, will be selected.
The six regional winners will each receive a sum of Euros 1,000 (Regional Prize), along with other rewards. The overall Winner will be selected from the regional Winners and he/she will receive an additional sum of Euros 500 (ACP Prize).
CTA will cover the 12 finalists’ costs for the trip and stay in South Africa. They will take part in one seminar of the CTA/NPCA Week to strengthen their capabilities and interact with other players. CTA and its partners thank and congratulate all participants in the essay contest. Apart from finalists, outstanding participants will have the opportunity, among others, to take part in an Exchange and Training Workshop on Web 2.0 for Development in 2011. The essay contest is one of the activities organized by CTA to commemorate the International Year of Youth established by the United Nations.”

WATER IS EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS. WE ALL NEED IT TO SURVIVE!!

Putting a price on Water will make us aware of its scarcity and make us take better care of it” Agnel Gurria, Secretray –general of the OECD,quoted in The Guardian.’Experts call for hike in global water prices’. April 27th,2010.’”
Water is being referred to as a new oil, says Edith Van Walsum the Director ileai.  The UN declared that access to water and sanitation is a fundamental human right but millions around the world still lack even the most basic access.
With over 88% of Uganda’s population of 32 million being rural based and depending almost entirely on agriculture at various levels of livelihoods. It is widely held that access to clean water for both domestic and agricultural purposes by rural communities can not only increase agricultural productivity; it can also result into improved health which in turn would enhance economic and social development.
Millions of people in Uganda do not have access to clean water for both domestic and agricultural purposes and due to the high costs of conventional piped water, Rain water harvesting, a low cost technique is a valuable alternative to overcome the growing water shortage. People collect and store rain water in buckets, tanks and ponds which they use for multiple purposes ranging from irrigating crops, washing, cooking, bathing and drinking. This collected rain water can supplement other water sources when they become scarce or are of low quality.  
The Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperations ACP EU(CTA) through her CTA2010annual seminar has dedicated this year’s theme is ‘Closing the Knowledge Gap: Integrated Water Management for Sustainable Agriculture’ to make the world aware of the importance of water  also, this year’s BlogActionDay them is WATER  and all bloggers world over are invited to have their say.

CTA Annual Seminar is on Again.

Uganda Water sector

With the theme: Closing the knowledge Gap: Intergrated Water Management for Sustainable Agriculture. The CTA annual seminar is scheduled to take place in Pretoria, SouthAfrica from 22nd -26th November 2010.
How to be part of the 2010 CTA seminar:
You are invited to send your proposals for seminar papers and poster presentations for the CTA 2010 seminar on ‘Closing the Knowledge Gap: Integrated Water Management for Sustainable Agriculture’. Abstracts are welcome from experts and stakeholders in the following main themes:
  • Water Availability and Access
  • Public Policy and Investment
  • Water and Society
  • Knowledge Support Systems
For more details please visit: CTA2010 Annual Seminnar
The Water Sector in Uganda:
The water sector is one of the priority sectors in Uganda, as it directly impacts on the quality of life of the people and overall productivity of the population. Water supply and sanitation are among the key issues emphasized under the national Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), which is the key government framework for ensuring poverty eradication through creation of an enabling environment for rapid economic development and social transformation.
Water is a key strategic resource, vital for sustaining life, promoting development and maintaining the environment. Access to clean and safe water and improved sanitation facilities and practices are pre-requisites to a health population and therefore have a direct impact on the quality of life and productivity of the population. Besides domestic water supply, water is also vital for: Livestock Water Supply, Industrial Water Supply, Hydropower generation, Agriculture, Marine Transport, Fisheries, Waste Discharge, Tourism, and Environmental Conservation. Water, therefore, significantly contributes to the national socio-economic development and thus poverty eradication.
Despite Uganda’s being well endowed with significant freshwater resources, the challenges of rapid population growth, increased urbanization and industrialization, uncontrolled environmental degradation and pollution are leading to accelerated depletion and degradation of the available water resources. Uganda is also faced with the challenge of low safe water coverage (59% rural and 65% urban, as of December 2003).
In order to meet the above challenges, government initiated reforms in the water sector, in 1997, to ensure that water services are provided and managed with increased efficiency and cost effectiveness. Comprehensive sector reform studies have been going on since 1998 and are due to be completed by August 2004. During these studies, detailed situation analysis of the sector was carried out resulting in the preparation of a comprehensive water sector Strategy, investment plans and time bound national targets for the sector up to 2015. In demonstrating its commitment to the reform process, government has already embarked on the process of implementing some of the strategic recommendations from these studies.
One of the key strategic outcomes from the reform studies is the adoption of a ‘Sector Wide Approach to Planning (SWAP)’ for the sector. The SWAP framework, which has been embraced by both government and the water sector development partners, has already proved to be themost appropriate mechanism for resources mobilization and implementation of the action plans. The SWAP framework also guarantees the participation of all stakeholders in the planning and implementation of water sector activities.
 (Extracted from Uganda National Water Developmet Report-2005)

Maureen Agena: CTA’s FIRST Remote Intern

In 2009, The Technical centre for Agricultural and Rural cooperations  ACP-EU introduced CTA’s Internship and Young professional officers programmes. The Centre offers the beneficiaries of the program the opportunity to acquire practical experience related to their professional backgrounds and aspirations.

How it all began
During CTA’s 2009 annual seminar which was also her 25th anniversary, I was privilledged to meet the biggest percentage of the CTA team in Brussels-Belgium including Mr. Giacomo Rambaldi my current Remote trainer and Mentor. Being a trained Citizen journalist, I did not waste any precious time but decided to join the various web 2.0 platforms that were being used to share information about the seminar and anniversary. Twitter was my favorite platform. I spent most of my time tweeting and re-tweeting until the day I was set to make a presentation on behalf of WOUGNET entitled “Use of web 2.0 tools for sustainable
argriculture: A case of small scale farmers in Uganda”.
The entire idea of web 2.0 tools was “News” to majority of the participants. After the presentation, I had the privilege to share my passion for web 2.0 tools and new media with CTA’s Senior programme Coordinator/ICT and Innovation Mr Giacomo Rambaldi.
After a discussion with WOUGNET coordinator Dr. Dorothy Okello during the CTA observatory Workshop in Netherlads in 2009, it was agreed that I should be recruited as a remote CTA intern.

What the Distance Mentorship Covers.
During the internship period, it is believed that Knowledge and skills will be acquired via remote coaching and hands-on practice. The distance mentorship programme covers the following topics:
Use of SharePoint remote collaboration platform to store and exchange data related to this programme (Microsoft Office environment)
• Use of Joomla (CMS); e.g. publish ready edited content
• Monitor and improve visibility and ranking of websites. This includes SEO assessments, registration on search engines and online directories, planned crawling, establishment of reciprocating links, use of WebRings and other
• Improve dissemination of online products. This involves the posting of short announcements on selected portals, social tagging and tweeting. Content will be provided by CTA.
Moderate and animate the exchanges on the Web2forDev DGroup
• Transcribing and translating videos on dotsub.
My experience.
Being a remote intern had never occurred to me. I did not know that such a “thing” existed, being trained and mentored online using a number of tools. When CTA offered me this opportunity, I was so eager to find out what “remote” internship entailed. I must say that, six months into the internship, I have no regrets at all. The benefits are overwhelming and opportunities keep increasing.
Ø I have understood the power of the internet and the benefits it can offer when properly used.
Ø I have learnt about many more web 2.0 tools and how they work. This has made it possible for me to use the skills for WOUGNET.
Ø Being a trained citizen Journalsit, I am putting into use the practical skills like blogging, tweeting , skyping among others.
Thanks to The Technical centre for Agricultural and Rural cooperations ,CTA’s Internship and Young professional officers programme for giving the youth like me an opportunity to maximize on the potential I have in relation to new and digital Media.

Maureen Agena
Remote Intern
Affiliated to the CTA Distance Mentorship Programme
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU
P.O. Box 380, NL 6700AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands