Social Media Seminar for Francophone African Universities held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (23-25 November 2016)

The Association of African Universities (AAU) partnered with the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) to hold the third Social Media Seminar for African Universities, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This seminar was special in the sense that it targeted Communications and Public Relations Officers from Francophone African Universities. The other seminars were held in Ghana and Swaziland earlier in the year.

The Social Media Seminars are part of the capacity building efforts designed by the AAU. These seminars aim to build the capacities of Communications Officers, Public Relations Officers, Recruitment Officers and International Liaison Officers from African Universities to integrate the use of social media to improve their functional roles. Universities elsewhere have successfully used Social Media to do the following:

  1. Enhance the visibility of universities
  2. Market the university programs
  3. Increase student enrollments
  4. Share research outputs of universities
  5. Effectively engage current students, prospective students and alumni
  6. Effectively engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders

The seminar in Burkina Faso was attended by 14 staff from République Démocratique du Congo, Sénégal, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Burkina Faso. These participants represented the following 10 institutions:

  1. Universite de Kisangani
  2. Universite de Dosso
  3. Groupe Supdeco
  4. Centre International de Référence Chantal BIYA (CIRCB)
  5. Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion
  6. Université de Yaoundé I
  7. CERAP
  8. Ecole Superieure Multinationale des Telecommunications (ESMT)
  9. Université Abdou Moumouni Niamey
  10. International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE)

Ms Nodumo Dhlamini the Director of ICT Services and Knowledge Management at the AAU Secretariat led the team of trainers that included Mr. Papa Yaw Mireku-Odei (Systems Developer at AAU) and Mr. Jacob Grah Kouassy (Consultant – Computer Science Education Graduate).

A selection of training delivery methods were used and these included the knowledge café, discussions, quizzes, flipped classroom and presentations by participants and trainers.

Some of the key lessons from the seminar in Burkina Faso included the following:

  • The International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) is a member of AAU and played a major role in organizing and marketing the Social Media Seminar to the Francophone African Universities. AAU capacity building programmes are most effective when they are held in partnership with selected AAU member universities.
  • There is a need for AAU Secretariat trainers to be proficient in French language so that they could effectively support capacity building of the Francophone AAU member universities’ community
  • It was a challenge to identify online French content and case studies on the use of Social Media by Universities. There is a need to translate selected English content to be able to effectively serve the Franchophone Universities.
  • Holding such innovative training programmes is one great way of creating value for AAU member universities who pay subscriptions. Through such training programmes communities of practice are created – and the networks / collaborations go beyond the training workshop.