The Rwanda Telecentre Network (RTN), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI ) and The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation EU-ACP (CTA) hosted a five-day web 2.0 learning opportunity Nov. 7 to 11 at the Agricultural Information and Communication Centre (CICA) in Kacyiru, Kigali, Rwanda.
Technological innovation is taking place at breathtaking pace. Simple, open-source Internet-based applications and services designed to enhance online collaboration are now available to the wider public at little or no cost at all. These new online technologies – known as web 2.0 applications, sometimes called ‘social media’ – enhance people’s ability to collaborate to create, share and publish information.
The organizers selected participants from different organizations including government, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, media houses and private sector companies to help them adopt web 2.0 applications in their work for networking, accessing and disseminating information more effectively.
“This time around we have selected participants from diverse background to promote these new technological tools to reach the masses in different part of the country,” said Paul Barera, Executive Director of The Rwanda Telecentre Network on the event’s closing day. “We hope that Rwanda after this learning opportunity will increase its presence on the web,” added Paul.
He also urged participants to become the champions of ICT, especially web 2.0 technologies, by applying them in their organizations and institutions.
Participants were introduced to selected web 2.0 applications and learnt how to use them hands-on.
Eric Sebasore is a participant who works for Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), a non-profit organization that trains disadvantaged communities in ICT and business skills. He said that he will train the organization’s beneficiaries in these innovative technologies that they need to use to improve their business in this information age.
“This training workshop was also a networking opportunity for me as I met like-minded people [with] whom we will stay in touch to exchange knowledge and information for career and professional development,” added Eric. “I will also add this web 2.0 tools package to my business services.”
With web 2.0 people can contribute information, provide feedback, share ideas and connect to other users with similar interests. There are several examples of this relevant to development organizations in African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries: wikis, blogs, social networking and social bookmarking.
“We have learnt how to work on the same document being at distant places using Google Docs and wikis, teleconference using Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and professional networking among others,” said Marcellin Habimana, a weather forecaster who works in the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure’s (MININFRA) Department of Meteorology.
He also said that web 2.0 tools, especially social media, “can be a channel to disseminate weather information to reach the population to protect their life and property.”
The Rwandan government is promoting ICT use in national development programs. This web 2.0 learning opportunity is a great boost towards achieving this goal.