The aim of the learning opportunity was to educate participants on the use of Web 2.0 and social media as tools for development.The training was opened by DG planning inside MINAGRI; Rurangwa Raphael, who actually attended the training for the first five days. According to Raphael, the training is a key solution for information management and dissemination which is a big challenge that most of the staff have. He said ”Agriculture as a big development sector needs strong communication that matches with new technologies.” he added that the skills that trainees will get within 5 days, should be transferred to others. “You will be trained to train others about this new technologies.”
About 25 participants were trained in the first batch of the training. During the training, participants learnt all about Web 2.0 and its global usage. Various ways of accessing information through web 2.0 platforms were explained to the audience. The trainer who handled most of the courses, Nicholas Kimolo, patiently worked his participants through advanced search techniques, using Google, getting information served to you via Google alerts and RSS feeds, collaborating remotely using Wikis, sharing images and videos on Flickr and Youtube, and communicating across continents at no cost using Skype, and other free and accessible platforms for storing, sharing and collaborating on projects. Trainees were also introduced to a self-learning package known as IMARK.
All along the training, Mr Kimolo appreciated the applicability of the trainees. ”It is evident that the more people get informed about new applications, the more they get excited and involved.” Said Mr Nicholas Nkimolo to explain the evolution of the participation mood. Various teaching methods were utilized during the training, ensuring that trainees were active participants in the entire process. Hands-on, practical learning supplemented lecture style and multi-media presentations. Participants were also encouraged to engage the facilitator and their fellow learners in intensive one-on-one sessions.
Learning materials were provided to assist participants in training others going forward. These included DVDs containing relevant literature and a copy of the entire curriculum including trainer's notes, power point presentations, video tutorials and other instructional documents. Several informative magazines were provided to participants including ICT Update, and they were offered the opportunity to subscribe – at no cost – to the CTA monthly publications. At the end of the workshop, participants were enlightened on the wealth of information, related to their various projects, freely available on the internet. Going forward, it is expected that it would be much easier for participants, and those they will train, to connect with counterparts across the globe.
Hopefully, the training will launch Rwandan agriculture into the next level of technological innovation towards food security and improved economic wellbeing.
Authors: Kayitare Alexandre, Sierra Fogal, and Chika Ezenya