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Sunday, 24 February 2013 09:11

The Web2.0 and Social Media big bang

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Since CTA held its first Web2.0 training event in Nairobi, Kenya in 2009, demand has simply exploded. Between 2009 and 2012, 1,684 people from around the ACP regions were trained. In 2012 alone, 695 people from 32 countries took part in 31 learning events, branded as “Web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunities”, two of which were offered online through a partnership with UNITAR and FAO. This represents a 509% increase in participation on 2009!

Offering in-country training on a cost-sharing basis (participants are responsible for their travel, accommodation and subsistence) has been a winning formula, ensuring engagement, lowering the per capita investment cost and thus increasing the number of potential beneficiaries.

Organisations and individuals throughout the ACP recognise not only the benefits of investing in Web2.0 and social media skills for networking and sharing, they also understand the necessity of being socially conversant for the success of their businesses.

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, it is the under 35’s as the eager adopters who make up the greatest percentage of participants. In 2012, they accounted for 59% of the total participants. This high concentration reflects CTA’s strategy which focuses on those participants who will engage more enthusiastically with Web2.0 and social media and share their new skills with a wider audience. This has meant specifically targeting youth, women, trainers, private enterprise, media, farmers’ organisations and policy advisors.

In terms of the gender breakdown, women constitute one third of those trained. In fact, a recent study commissioned by
CTA indicated that women displayed a higher rate of adoption than men for almost every Web2.0 application. The study found that women use tags and bookmarks, social networks and internet-based voice communication more readily than men.

Popularity of the learning opportunities continues to be strongest among civil society organisations and government organisations and extension services. Recent years have, however, seen a substantial increase in demand by farmers’ organisations and private enterprise. This demonstrates how Web2.0 and social media as communication and networking environments have permeated all levels of society in ACP countries and again mirrors the focus of CTA’s strategy.

While CTA has outlined a more specific target audience, the diversity of participants is very interesting. In 2012, training was provided to diplomats and farmers, government officials and journalists, entrepreneurs and students, and many more. Importantly, trainers make up the highest percentage of participants. This will ensure that the growing demand for these essential skills continues to be met.

CTA offers two type of capacity building schemes.

  • Web2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunities: These are open to everyone. Learning opportunities are announced on the Web4Dev website and those interested in taking part can apply online. CTA selects participants based on specific criteria and in consultation with the host organisation.
  • Web2.0 and Social Media e-Learning: Launched in 2011, the e-learning courses are a joint initiative by UNITAR, FAO and CTA. Participants are selected from key partners such as CARDI, CORAF, the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), NEPAD, RUFORUM, and SPC to name a few. The aim is to build capacity within these organisations in order to facilitate the mainstreaming of Web2.0 and Social Media within their operations.
Follow-up assistance is granted by embedding trainees in dedicated online communities of peers and offering further support for institutional adoption.

Read more about CTA’s
impact study including examples of how participants are applying their new skills.

Did you attend a Web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunity? Were you satisfied? If so you may cast your vote since the initiative has been shortlisted under category 13 “ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life (C7) E-agriculture” in the context of the 2013 WSIS Award.

“WSIS Project Prizes” is a unique recognition for excellence in the implementation of WSIS outcomes. The initiative is an immediate response to the requests expressed by WSIS stakeholders during the WSIS Forum 2011: to create a mechanism to evaluate and reward stakeholders for their efforts in the implementation of WSIS outcomes. The WSIS Project Prizes are an integral part of the WSIS Stocktaking Process that was set up in 2004 (Para 120, Tunis Agenda).

Article originally published on the web2fordev website: The Web2.0 and Social Media big bang

Last modified on Sunday, 24 February 2013 10:12


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