This week, the eLearning Africa team met with eLearning Africa Scholarship Trust (EAST) scholarship recipients. The EAST programme, thanks to the kind donations of individuals and organisational partners, sponsors participation at the eLearning Africa conference of low-income Africans who are passionate about ICT and education. Today, EAST passed the microphone to two of its 2012 scholarship winners to find out how EAST – and participation at eLearning Africa – have affected their professional activities.
Haoua Kona Tago, an ICT specialist from Burkina Faso, was encouraged to apply for an EAST scholarship by a friend, the President of the Association pour la Promotion des Ressources Éducatives Libres Africaines (APRELIA). And Valentin Kinkpon-Glah, Executive Director of Rescue and Hope, a Beninese NGO dedicated to training and education, was told about the programme by a colleague who is a coordinator at an NGO and who had already participated in the conference several times.
Haoua: I wanted to share my experiences in ICT, but also hear about those of other people. So I filled out the scholarship application form, and then I was selected as a scholarship recipient to participate in eLearning Africa 2012.
Valentin: For me, it was a way to meet people and learn more about the ICT field. So I spoke with the Board of Directors at Rescue and Hope, and they immediately supported my proposal.
And what were your first impressions when you arrived at the conference?
Haoua: I was impressed by the number and professional qualities of the people participating in the conference. Important topics related to using ICT in the scholastic environment were discussed and explained using innovative and very interesting pedagogic resources.
Valentin: eLearning Africa is, above all, a place for networking among ICT users from around the entire world. It is also impressive as a crossroads where people exchange ideas about ICT uses and practices in the education sector.
What important discoveries did you make during this experience?
Haoua: I was pleasantly surprised to discover the innovations in literacy education, notably achieved with the help of digital tablets, mobile phones and so on.
Valentin: It was easy to gather information and be inspired by the experiences of participants working in more or less the same sector, in order to optimise my own work.
And did you take advantage of networking opportunities?
Haoua: Indeed, I have remained in contact with participants I met during the conference.
Valentin: Yes, I established contacts with training centres, as well as with manufacturers, with whom I still correspond. What’s more, Rescue and Hope has used the services offered by a company that also participated in eLearning Africa 2012 to improve its website.
Did you feel professionally more mature thanks to this experience?
Haoua: Participating in eLearning Africa allowed me to explain my research projects on literacy and ICT more intelligently.
Valentin: Yes, certainly. With our NGO, we discovered that it is possible to use information technology to facilitate literacy in local languages, a brilliant idea that we were then able to implement as part of our business plan.
And finally, how do you envisage the future of eLearning on the African continent?
Haoua: eLearning will certainly continue to be a springboard for development in the African education sector.
Valentin: I think that it may become a powerful lever for development on the African continent, as long as tools and practices become more democratic.
To find out more about the work of EAST, you can keep up to date with the latest developments by visiting the EAST facebook page. Don’t forget to like the page and share it with your friends and colleagues!
If you would like to support people like Valentin and Haoua to attend eLearning Africa 2013, please visit our fundraising page on Betterplace.org, a non-profit fundraising platform that forwards 100% of your donation to EAST.