Tuesday, 18 May 2010

ComPart South 2010 Workshop - Day 1

Soestenberg, 18 May 2010. It's past 10 in the evening, and the room is still full. Christophe Hien and Oudou Bengaly, two of the 'ancient' enablers of the ComPart support team, just finished facilitating the last session of the day, explaining the group how to 'work with blips'. And everybody is now busy editing their videos and uploading them on the web.

This was the last session of a busy and exciting day, with 20 people from 15 countries discussing and being trained on the ‘ComPart Way of Working’, and seeing how this can be applied in their regional context.

We started this morning, with a simple tagging exercise that brought us closer together and helped identify which connections are in the room and where our common interests are. We also shared and captured the group's expectations, ranging from 'learning the tools' to 'understanding why ComPart', from 'sharing experiences on ICTs culture in different countries' to 'creating connections for future collaboration, building trust and finding common ground for collaboration'.

The energy level in the room was high, and the group was very excited and keen to learn. Maarten Boers answered some of the questions and expectations that participants had, giving a 'background and foreground' presentation of what ComPart is, what it has been done so far, and what next. In this sense, the what next is really a key element, and an issue that underpinned the all workshop: as ICCO is decentralising, what can be the added value of ComPart for the new ICCO and its partners in the South as well as in the North?

In this regards, it was great to start discussing the different regional regional contexts ICCO is working in. Today, we looked at West Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southern Africa and gave specific attention at how the ICT environment looks in each of these regions; and how ComPart is already being used by ICCO staff and partners, and what potentials it can have to support daily activities and work processes.

The second part of the afternoon was devoted to hands on training, as one of the objective of the workshop is to bring the all group to a good level of technical knowledge of blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, feeds and videos. More technical sessions are planned throughout the all week; at the end of the workshop we will award a prize for the participant that, using different ComPart tools, will produced the most complete multimedia trip report form this event.

Overall, it was a very positive day. I think it's clear that the people are eager to learn how ICTs in general, and ComPart in particular, can support their daily work, and enable information, collaboration and knowledge sharing. However, as emerged in the regional context session, several challenges need to be taken into account: access; people and their consolidated working habits; culture and attitude towards ICTs and sharing; languages. We will make the best how of the coming days of the workshop to see about the challenges that we are identifying, and how we can tailor ComPart to these different regional contexts.

See more stories from the ComPart South 2010 workshop.

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