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Web 2.0 Wonders

The internet remains an important resource for communication, research and networking. Many of its users however continue to discover that there are a lot more possibilities provided by the new 2nd generation platforms available on the internet also known as Web 2.0. Although the internet may not be easily accessible to the rural poor the continued decreasing costs of ICTs and internet infrastructure all point to a promising future. 28 participants representing Academic Institutions, NGOs, Media and Research Organizations at a just concluded Web 2.0 learning opportunity held at the ICRAF center in Nairobi, could not hide their joy as they interacted with these platforms. According to the Senior Program coordinator/ICT/Innovation at the Technical Centre For Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Giacomo Rambaldi, this learning opportunity targeted participants from Rural and Agricultural based organization with the aim of introducing and equipping them with Web 2.0 applications. Web 2.0 refers to free or low-cost interactive web-based services that help people share information and collaborate online more easily than with earlier tools (FAO). He hoped at the end, these participants would be able to apply their newly acquired or improved skills as well as disseminate the same through their networks. Equipped with their Wi-fi enabled laptops, participants discovered exciting features on various types of social and professional applications that included Google (docs, maps, alerts), Linkedin, Facebook, Skype, Wikis. Yvonne Otieno, the Communications Officer for ICRAF was particularly fascinated by the various Google applications that she is very eager to apply in her day to day work. She pointed out Google maps, alerts and Google search as well as Linkedin to be her priorities in terms of use. Anne Wachira, the Database Administrator for the Communications unit at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, plans to use the flikr and geotag applications to photos that they have from all over the world. She also looks forward to using utube to upload videos. Other participants like Charles Deya, the Programs Cordinator for Bottom Up Capacity Building Foundation (BOCA) was thrilled that the new Web 2.0 applications mean no more unnecessary travel and this will translate into more time to attend to other matters. Francis Muchiri, the Communications Documentalist with Practical Action who has in the past been skeptical about publishing on the web is now confident that he can securely do so. Most participants felt that the learning opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time although some felt overwhelmed with all that the Web 2.0 platform has to provide.

Speaking at the conclusion of the learning opportunity, Mr. Nicholas Kimolo, the facilitator was impressed by the high turnout of participants who he found to be very enthusiastic, passionate, willing to learn. He found it quite a challenge to handle a rather large and knowledgeable group that really pushed him to present new and detailed insights in Web 2.0. He hopes that more people from will join the online community as Africa still contributes very little online content. It is his desire to see more corporates, Media, NGO's and the informal sector adopt Web 2.0.

By Eric Kadenge & Lydia Micho