Thursday, August 6, 2009

More pictures and comments by participants

Here’s Mdegela Ajuaye, lecturer of journalism and especially photojournalism, working with his laptop in the cyber café yesterday.

Getrude Ntulo, lecturer of library and information services has great ideas on how to develop library services in Tanzania by making use of blogs and the internet.

Here’s a photo of Agnes Shija, lecturer of journalism and a specialist in media ethics and media law.

Working with their blogs, in the front, Godwin Gondwe, lecturer of journalism, and behind, Sam Kasulwa, veteran journalist and head librarian at Tudarco. All photos are by Mdegela Ajuaye. Thanks for sharing.

For the last evaluations, please see the postings of Danford, Mdegela and Getrude.

Many thanks to all participants for active and challenging presence. For me it has been a great experience to see your motivation and ownership in the many uses of the internet, and also how fast some of you have been able to pick up the new issues introduced to you. Keep on with the good work and let’s stay in touch!

A special thank to Nancy Mwendamseke, head of the Department of journalism and mass communication, for both the initiative to organize the course and the pragmatic and efficient way of running all things.

African web resources

Here’s a list of some local and international websites we went through today, useful not only for journalists but for anyone with the desire to find information. And for Tanzanian online media, I will add some links separately to the column on the right side of the page. But here are now the other links.

Tanzania government Here you will find all statistical data of the country, national budget and so on. For reaching the different ministries, better to go directly to the section National information by topics with the giraffe image surrounded by links.

Bunge, meaning the parliament, has a good site with CV’s of all MP’s and other info, but it’s just a bit too slow to open.

Tanzania Online The only functioning Tanzanian web portal, has many links that you might also easily find by googling.

Jamii Forums This is the Tanzanian discussion site, with the slogan: “Where we dare to talk openly.” Here people use to leak out scandalous documents of corruption etc. that wouldn’t be published in the mainstream media.

Reuters Africa Latest news country by country updated constantly if news happen. If things at home are relatively cool, meaning no huge floods or wars or rigged elections, the site might include only week-old business news.

IPS News “Tells the story underneath!” Well written news features from the South produced by journalists from the South. Content from more that 125 African news organizations. Here you can read papers from Cameroon to Kenya. Of the Tanzanian media houses, The Citizen seems to have joined this news portal recently.

Awdal News I didn’t actually show this today, but I’ll mention it anyway. It’s a curiosity from Somaliland. Online journalism can be a great media in a country with long distances and lack of paper, as long as wireless connections are there.

Pambazuka News Pan-African forum for social justice. Human rights activists and the best intellectuals on the continent are publishing enlightening stories on politics, development and people’s struggles.

African Elections Database Compiled by a chap somewhere out of Africa with numbers of votes, percentages and all other details from every election since colonial times.

African Literature and Writers on the Internet A web portal hosted by Stanford University in California with hundreds of links to websites on African literature, from sites about Chinua Achebe to Zimbabwe Book Fair.

African Studies Internet Resources Web portal by Columbia University, New York. So many links that you can choose by region, country or topic.

Hello in many languages. This is one of my personal favourites. Today we learnt to greet at least in Lingala and Mambwe languages and of course Finnish. Here you can also learn to say “hallo” in about 20 different German dialects.

Links and images have been included

All participants have now added some links to their stories, and most have also inserted some pictures. On each blog you can also find links to the blogs of the other participants. Linking is the whole point of the internet. That is what makes it a net, or a network, with lots of threads of communication connected together.

In Mdegela’s blog, you can now see the village church in Ipalamwa, Iringa, on Christmas Day last year.

Getrude has published pictures from class as well as of Mwalimu Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania. Her last posting so far gives nice feedback on the training.

Experiences of blogging

Participants have posted stories of the class events yesterday, about purchasing tickets and other issues – and of course about opening the blogs. The postings are casual and nice, and the blogging itself seems to have been the best experience so far.

Sam Kasulwa, head librarian at Tudarco, has created a blog called Awareness blog. He says he will “cater for issues related to information search, processing and dissemination” and also write about environmental questions and human development.

Journalism lecturer Godwin Gondwe says that being able to publish your own stories onto a blog “is a proof that the world is within our fingertips.”

Getrude Ntulo has made a complete resumé about what we did yesterday. Now she plans to teach her students of library and information services how to launch their own blogs for learning and sharing information and to create awareness in the society about library issues in Tanzania.

For all other participants, kindly use the links on the right. All links to the participants’ blogs are now updated.

Photo from class yesterday

Yesterday we move into Wina Communications internet café, Sinza, Dar es Salaam. Working by their computers, from the left Godwin Gondwe, Danford Kitwana and Agnes Shija. The guy standing behind is me, Peik Johansson, facilitator of the training course. Photo by Mdegela Ajuaye.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

First postings of participants

The participants have opened their blogs today with some introductory postings and reports on what we have been doing these days.

Mdegela Ajuaye, lecturer of journalism and photojournalism, has written a beautiful narrative from this morning before the class opened. The text is like a short story about what kind of headlines were found on websites around the world and the personal expectations that were there before the day begun.

Getrude Ntulo, assistant lecturer of library and information studies, has posted two texts so far, an introduction of herself with wonderful ideas for using the internet in the future. She is planning to create a blog for librarians in the country, particularly academic librarians “so that they can have a communication forum for exchanging views, ideas and sharing experiences on their profession”.

Here you will find Getrude’s comments from Day 2 when we had the TV crews in class.

For other participants’ blogs, see the link list on the right. I do my best to update all the links as soon as I can.

Maybe the fastest internet in Bongoland

Day 3 has started, and we are in a new venue: Wina Communications in Sinza, Dar es Salaam, just beside the Meeda Bar that some people might know. The place is just a small internet café, but believe me, it has the fastest internet connection I have ever experiences in Tanzania or even elsewhere in Africa. We should have been here ever since early Monday.

So today we have been running fast and doing practical, though yet non-journalistic issues: checking timetables via the internet and learning how to buy train and flight tickets, visiting Tanzanian banks for internet banking (see CRDB Bank and NBC which already have this service here), editing the section of Tanzanian media in Wikipedia and watching some video clips on YouTube, on people making popcorn with mobile phones and a Frenchman kicking his football in the streets with amazing accuracy.

Next we will be opening the blogs to everyone.

Day 2, when our class went on TV

Oh what a day! We’ve had the media here, TV cameras from ITV and others coming to our class to record the official opening of the internet workshop by Mrs Priscilla Olekambainei, the Deputy Provost for Administration at Tumaini University. The benefits of internet and training in the use of internet were praised by all parties, but the funny thing is that even today we have been going on without an internet connection. So again, a little bit of improvisation had to take place.

However, areas covered today included email communication skills, the problem of plagiarism, e-commerce, and business challenges by newspapers during the time of internet as especially the young people are not reading print papers but rather find their news from the internet.

We had discussions about multi-channel strategies and about cross-promoting the Bongo Star Search TV programme (in other countries know as the Idols) in other media of the same media house. We also wondered about the British newspaper Telegraph gaining today more than 30 percent of its income from online retail business, trading anything from shoes and ties to kitchenware and garden furniture.

Training started, but yet no internet access

This is a first posting from an internet training course for lecturers of journalism and library and information services at Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCO) in Tanzania. The training will run for this week here at the Kinondoni Campus of the college. We’re altogether twelve people in a computer class, seven lecturers from the Department of journalism and mass communications, four from the Department of library and information services, and myself, journalist from YLE Radio Finland and the facilitator of the course.

The course is funded by the VIKES Foundation from Finland (The Finnish Foundation for Media, Communication and Development), an international solidarity organization of the Union of Journalists and other journalists associations in Finland.

Some of the participants I know already from years back as students at Tumaini University in Iringa, where I have had the opportunity to teach them internet courses and digital media. After graduating from Iringa, three former journalism students have joined the journalism staff here at Tumaini in Dar es Salaam.

Today has been more like an introduction to the topics. While writing this, we have yet no internet access at all, but it’s promised to be available in the morning, when we are planning to launch our blogs and this commentary is to be published.

Because the lack of the network, the programme today has also been a bit improvised, focusing on some more theoretical issues which don’t necessarily need the internet access. We have seen statistics of internet use in different parts of the world and discussed why Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda have multiplied the number of internet users in the last years, but Tanzania not. The language question was given as one reason, English being a lingua franca of the other countries mentioned, whereas in Tanzania the main language is Kiswahili.

In the afternoon, after a break for snacks and sodas, I gave a brief introduction to the history of the internet and explained a bit about different technologies using the internet. In addition to websites and emails, you can today do instant messaging, streaming media, and voice telephone. By using a VPN connection (standing for Virtual Private Network), you can remotely access all your office files even while on a business trip on the other side of the world.