Thursday, July 19, 2007

The tech forum in Ghana meets face-to-face

Today I co-facilitated a meeting of the 'tech forum' a group of ICT technicians who are active in ICT4D. We started last year with a meeting, and had a year of online exchange, which never took off full speed. Nevertheless, more than half of the people present had participated in the previous meeting and were still 'in the mood' and enjoyed their connection. I found out a lot of invisible connections had continued either by mail or meeting people.

It's always encouraging to see how energizing it is for people to engage in practice-related discussions, also today. Even though I'm not a practitioner myself, you see it from the body language, and the break discussions. We had a peer assist session where 4 people could bring in their cases, and I had worried about the others (the non-caseholders), but I noticed that it was as energizing for the others to think along the questions of the 4 case holders. For instance, one question of the delay in seeing the content on a website after uploading it to a CMS was a real puzzle, and we got all intrigued by it. Another very practical exchange was how to load your cell phone battery while travelling (by connecting the poles of your phone battery to a normal battery)...

Something I learned myself is how to use flickr images in blogger. It never worked, and when someone asked me, I felt encouraged to try and find out and I managed (click on other sizes and you can grab the flickr URL).

People thought it was really participatory and peer learning, but what was missing is some thought leaders, and some inspiring new ideas. A reminder that it is not easy to get those people engaged for a long period of their time. That's a process in itself. Secondly, we had done all our best to get the online forum going, but it never really took off. Now, through the face-to-face connections, there are new topic leaders emerging, and there is a plan to have a new topic every month, with a topic leader and monthly online chats, Fridays at 17.00 (without voice because people might not be able to talk outloud in their offices). This is really a breakthrough in energy level that would have been hard to achieve online.

1 comment:

helen said...

May such tech questions be discussed on women forum?