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Youth, Skills & Employability at the 6th eLearning Conference in Dar es Salaam.

eLearning Africa is a conference and exhibition organised by ICWE GmbH that focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development, education and training in Africa. Serving as a pan-African platform, eLearning Africa links a network of decision-makers from governments and administrations with universities, schools, governmental and private training providers, industry and important partners in development cooperation. Each year a different country hosts the event. This year’s conference took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 24th to 28th May 2011 with the theme “Youth, Skills & Employability” and attracted delegates from 90 countries around the world.
This year’s event just like that of 2010 in Zambia was characterized by a photo competition.  The public was called upon  to capture photos on how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can nurture talent, skills and innovation across Africa. The public was invited to send in photos that depict outstanding achievements in Africa – empowered by ICTs – or that show innovative ways in which ICTs can foster the development of people, communities and society.  With over 120 images submitted, the following winner emerged 
Blogging and Technology camps for Vulnerable groups
I was privileged to chair a session on “How blogging and Technology camps can empower people at risk, women, girls” The session looked at the story of research about the way ICTs influence how girls and boys, women and men relate to each other in African schools. It also examined how blogs, technology camps and literacy programs can improve the livelihood of rural women, support groups at risk and enable the empowerment of girls.  It includes the following presenters:
Oreoluwa Abiodun Somulu from Nigeria: “Building Blocks: The W.TEC Girls Technology Camp”.
Steven Ouma Otieno from Kenya: “Positive Blogging for groups most at risk”.
Judith Sama from cameroon: Urban-Rural Gender Digital Divide in Selected Schools in Central Africa”
John Stephen Olouch from Kenya on the Role of ICT and Literacy in Achieving Sustainable Livelihoods Among Women, Southern Kenya.
African Women and ICT


Talk with Maureen Agena by Batier

For details about the 6th eLearning conference, please visit:

Contracted to Tweet and Blog at the 3rd Regional EastAfrica Internet Governace Forum (EAIGF) in Kampala.

The EAIGF twitter page
Globally, technological development has taken the place of face-to-face interaction; with an increasing range of devices for communicating and disseminating information. It is evident that the world is changing rapidly and African Media is catching up with the technological revolution.

At the third East African Internet Governace forum which is being held in Kampala Uganda with a theme:”Strengthening East Africa’s Critical Internet resources: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally”, Twitter an interactive micro blogging platform based on open publication of 140 character messages is one of the most powerful social media tools being used to share information and Network about the event.

A citizen Journalist and a professional Journalist working together.

Together with Ms. Esther Nakazzi a Journalist with the EastAfrican Newspaper, we were contracted as official resource persons in-charge of communication during the 3rd EAIGF. We were tasked with tweeting and blogging during the three days event. I must say that it is very interesting working with a professional Journalist. It is my very first time as a citizen Journalist to be contracted to tweet and blog at a regional workshop. I have always tweeted at workshops, conferences as well as meetings but that was mainly on voluntary basis. These include among others the digital citizen Indaba and Highway Africa 2009 conference in South Africa, the CTA2009Annual Seminar, art and science the international festival TREFFPUNKT AFRIKA among others.

Who inspired me?

Like the saying goes, “Credit must be given where and when it is due”. I first heard about social media and specifically twitter, blogs, facebook, youtube and skype when I Joined Women of Uganda Network as an information Officer in 2008 and was tasked to head the citizen Journalism in Africa Project (CJA) which was funded by Hivos and SANGONeT in SouthAfrica.  Citizen Journalism is a form of citizen media – where individuals write and or comment on issues they feel are left out of the mainstream media using social media and web2.0 tools.

A lot of motivation was from  a freelance Zambian Journalist known as Brenda Zulu who I first met during the 2009 highway African conference and thereafter during the CTA2009 Annual seminar who helped me start up my personal blog http://dignityinpoverty.blogspot.com/ .  

The idea of tweeting during major events is a very powerful one since very many people who would otherwise not have received such information are able to follow and contribute.

Please follow the tweets  https://twitter.com/EA_IGF  and the blog at http://www.eaigf-uganda.blogspot.com/

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

Citizen Journalists: The “Watchdogs” during the 2010 FIFA World cup.

Technological innovation is taking place at a breath-taking pace. Simple, open source internet-based applications and services designed to enhance on-line collaboration are now available to the wider public at little or no cost at all. These new online services known as Web 2.0 applications have enabled people, especially citizen Journalists to collaborate remotely in creating, sharing, networking, lobbying and publishing information about the FIFA 2010 worldcup . The 2010 FIFA world cup which is currently taking place in South Africa comes at a point when the use and application of web 2.0 tools has been adapted by many African people.
Globally, technological development has taken the place of face-to-face interaction; with an increasing range of devices for communicating and disseminating information. It is evident that the world is changing rapidly and African Media needs to catch up with the technological revolution. Africa cannot oppose the rise of this technology and the investment in “new and digital media”. But because of the low literacy levels, limited skills and high costs, it seems to be a fantasy than a reality to promote a larger use of online media in Africa. Never the less, this has not kept those who can access and use the technologies/web applications from making the best use of them during this 2010 FIFA worldcup.
Twitter an interactive micro blogging platform based on open publication of 140 character messages is one of the most popular web 2.0 tool being used to share information across the globe about the world cup. Being the largest sporting event in the world, twitter introduced the idea of having a picture of a ball after every tweet that bears the hush tag for the worldcup (#worldcup).
Facebook a privately owned social online networking website having users who can request for or add friends and send them messages as well as update their personal profiles in a chronological order to notify friends about themselves is another powerful tool being used by thousands of both soccer and non-soccer lovers during this 2010 FIFA world cup . It’s on these platforms that you find the latest updates about the different games in terms of the fixture, the winning teams, the “avoidable mistakes ” made during the different games, the online links to follow and watch the games, the vuvuzela discussions and people’s personal opinion about game.
We cannot ignore the blog, a type of website usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Many bloggers worldwide are having their blogs populated with the world cup event from all spheres; socially, politically and from an economic point of view.
A number of other tools like Youtube for sharing videos, flickr for photos and RSS for syndication are also being used. However, how are Africans benefiting from this worldcup and the various technologies?
The need to invest in citizen journalism and involve citizens in policies that affect them is now evident with the ongoing 2010 FIFA worldcup. The use of web 2.0 tools has enhanced real time communication, improved information sharing and networking. It is very important for different African governments to take advantage of these platforms to improve on key sectors electronically like health, education, governance and business. Each one of us can be a watch dog in our own societies or localities by reporting and sharing information on issues that affect us but have been left out by mainstream media. We are all citizen Journalist in one way or another.

The writer is a trained Citizen journalist