Moses Owiny, Uganda
For the last 3 years, I have met a number of friends and colleagues who keep asking me the same question: “Did you study Information Technology?” Coming from a totally different academic background in Arts/Humanities at the University did not deter my determination to learn about ICTs and new media for the past years.
Through numerous short trainings and courses in ICTs, social media, citizen journalism, document managements systems and online communications, I have been learning about new technologies and sharing them as they evolve. The apex of this was in 2013 with UNITAR’s e-Learning course “Innovative Collaboration for Development” (ICfD).
The ICfD course exposed me to different ICT tools and their strategic value for an individual and for an organization. This course was very timely and relevant for the organization I work as a trainer for, the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET). WOUGNET is an NGO initiated by several Women’s Organizations in Uganda to promote and support the use of ICTs as tools to share information and address issues of sustainable national development collectively.
The ICfD course exposed me to new social media tools such as Pinterest, Scoop.it and tools for developing a blog, as well as their strategic value. In our May training on web 2.0 and social media, many of our participants were thrilled to discover tools such as Pinterest and Scoop.it that I learned about through the ICfD course. We have introduced them for the first time into our training curriculum. But more importantly, the course helped me to significantly offer useful insights and guidance towards the development of the WOUGNET Information and Communication Management Strategy (ICM) following the Information Audit and the development of the Strategy Implementation Plan. One of the insights I gave will be to refocus and reshape our social media strategy; leveraging on the existing Social Media tools, applying specific tools for specific objectives, targeting our audiences and messages for maximum impact and benefits and also how to evaluate the impact of our social media tools. All of this was possible thanks to the ICfD course, without it, WOUGNET would have missed on my contributions at an important stage of the development of our Strategy Implementation Plan (SIP).
Moreover, the course has indeed inspired me to train many other young people in Uganda. Each day, I get inspired when I receive messages from my past student graduates of web 2.0 and social media. For example, a few weeks ago, I received many messages from past graduates telling me how they have benefited and used the training in their development work. In fact, many of them were chosen as Social Media Reporters for the upcoming ICT4Ag Conference in Kigali, Rwanda organized by CTA in November 2013. I am proud to be a graduate of the ICfD course and will continue to inspire others to make positive contributions.
As a result of hard work and dedication during the course of the year, I am privileged and honored to be invited to attend the largest Social Media Forum in Nairobi, Kenya in the week of 4-6 November 2013 organized by the Canal France International (CFI) dubbed the 4M Annual Meeting and Forums.