Seasonal Greetings from RUFORUM


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The RUFORUM Secretariat appreciates your continued support and wishes you a Happy Holiday as we look forward to more fruitful partnerships in 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Building Capacity of Young Professional Social Media Reporters to support Higher Education in Africa


A FOCUS ON MALAWI

Above: Social Media Reporters at the opening of the training by Prof. Adipala in Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe Malawi

Above: Social Media Reporters at the opening of the training by Prof. Adipala Ekwamu in Golden Peacock Hotel, Lilongwe Malawi

As part of enhancing its institutional visibility and reach, RUFORUM embarked on training a pool of young Social Media Reporters at its member universities. To date, RUFORUM has trained 20 reporters in Mozambique, Sudan, Namibia and recently 17 Social Media Reporters in Malawi.

For Malawi, specifically, the Social media training aimed to support visibility of key RUFORUM events namely, the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) Planning Workshop for Developing an Implementation Plan for Priority Area 1  and the side session on Higher Education at the United Nations General Assembly chaired by H.E Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi in New York that was held on 26 September, 2015 last month.

The Social Media Reporters will also this week support the Senior Government Leaders meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi on the 21 and 22 of October, 2015. The training drew participants from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), Mzuzu University members of the RUFORUM Network. The training was facilitated by Lilongwe University of Aquaculture and Natural Resources with technical support from RUFORUM.

Click here to view the profiles of the Social Media Reporters from Malawi

Supporting Higher Education in Africa through Social Media, a focus on Namibia


The Social Media Reports who covered the event during the RUFORUM 11th Annual General Meeting in Namibia

The Social Media Reports who covered the event during the RUFORUM 11th Annual General Meeting in Namibia

As part of its strategy to increase visibility of RUFORUM’s operations, with support from the University of Namibia, RUFORUM trained nine reporters during the recently concluded 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held 25-29 August 2015 in Namibia.

With the network’s growth to now 55 member universities across Africa, it is increasingly important to engage Social Media Reporters (SMRs) in each member country to promote the network’s visibility and vibrancy online. This is being done through training young African Social Media Reporters in the use of social media for reporting and documenting issues emerging from Higher Education in Africa. Through this continued advocacy and working with our member universities, RUFORUM have trained 24 Social Media Reporters in Mozambique, Sudan, Namibia and 19 RUFORUM Staff to support this initiative.

During the opening ceremony of this training, the RUFORUM Executive Secretary Professor Adipala Ekwamu encouraged the young reporters to take this training as an opportunity to engage and network with others in the RUFORUM Network and globally. “It is my wish that after this training, you will be equipped with skills that will empower you to not only report for this Annual General Meeting but also that you will join the pool of Young Social Media Reporters to communicate about Higher Education Issues in Africa to the global community”.

The two day training was led by the Communication, Publicity and Marketing Officer at RUFORUM and nine Social Media Reporters were trained on the use of twitter to support live coverage of the RUFORUM Annual Meeting using the hashtag #NERCHEA. Prof Adipala remarked “It is my dream that we as a network are vibrant online and take advantage of the existing online platforms to engage with each other, complementing our networking events such as the AGMs and Biennial conferences among others.”

Tweeting on about agriculture


Written by: Joan Apio- Communication Officer (RUFORUM)

H.E Dr. Martial De Paul Ikounga: African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, S &T handing over certificates to the Social Media Reporters at the 4th RUFORUM Biennial Conference

H.E Dr. Martial De Paul Ikounga: African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, S &T (Right) handing over certificates to the Social Media Reporters at the 4th RUFORUM Biennial Conference

In a discipline that has existed for eons, there is a legitimate question: “Why should agriculture care about social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube?”

Michele Payn-Knoper, a self-described Community Catalyst, Advocate, Farm and Food Connector who established the US-based Cause Matters Corp., has a simple and powerful answer: “It’s really quite simple. Mass influence. Facebook reached 150 million users nearly three times faster than a cell phone. If you’re not at the table, you can’t be a part of constructing the conversation about nutrition, science and agriculture.”

In Africa there was a time when farmers congregated at the local feed mill, talking about the weather, developments in the world of agriculture and in their neighborhood. Back then, communicating with others was called socializing. It was undertaken on a face-to-face basis and it was generally local.

Nowadays, however, the continent has a growing mobile ‘phone user population – a ready audience for information dissemination and exchange and advocacy. People, farmers included, spread the word – whether personal or business – using social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and blogs. Indeed, social media is the agriculturalist’s newest work tool.

For RUFORUM, this changed communication landscape opens up the potential for social media reporting. The network, currently comprised of 42 African universities, has been ‘socialising’ for the last 10 years through physical meetings and conferences but never through social media channels. During the 4th RUFORUM Biennial conference held in Maputo, Mozambique, from 19-26 July 2014, the network experimented with the use of social media to report on the conference’s proceedings.

The initiative was championed to create visibility for research, innovations, policy implications and the role of networking in the area of higher agricultural education. A small unit at the RUFORUM Secretariat, led by Ms Nodumo and myself, was thrilled at the possibilities this initiative would present to the network as well as the opportunity to train and encourage cross-learning among young social media reporters.

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