Promoting positive change for Youth through web 2.0 training and Social Media Learning Opportunities

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The concept of web 2.0 are still new to many youth around the world and yet in many countries such as Uganda the largest percentage of people using Social Media are recorded largely between the age brackets of 18-24. Particularly Facebook are highly used by these group of young people.Uganda has one of the highest number of its youth between the age bracket of 18-24 involved in social interaction via Facebook for example. Facebook penetration in Uganda is at 1.24% compared to the country population and 11.79% in relation to the number of internet users. The total number of FB users in Uganda is reaching 415600 according to recent statistics and the biggest gains in the last few months was recorded by the age group of 18-24.

I recently conducted a 5 days web 2.0 and Social Media Learning Opportunity for a group of 7 participants four of which were boys and three others girls. By the time I begun the training, I noticed that all the participants had an active Facebook accounts and were communicating with their peers effectively

Web 2.0 participants in Kampala.

All of these participants also had email addresses associated with Yahoo or Gmail even though other participants failed to login their email accounts either because they had forgotten their passwords or the emails had been blocked due to non usage for a long time

Web 2.0 as widely known are platforms for social interactions and connections. It allows users to easily connect and interact as well as collaborate effectively. My first task to the participants was to do an online registration designed using the survey Monkey with the help of CTA that had as well provided WOUGNET with the training materials

As I was guiding them to do the online registration, many of them kept asking me what is a blog, RSS, Twitter and Skype etc. _all web 2.0 applications. When I later asked them if they had known before these tools, only one participant affirmed to have been using Skype but the rest of the participants had not even heard of these tools

On the third day, these youth largely between the age bracket of 18-25 had learnt about Skype and signed up on Skype and they were communicating with me inside the training room via Skype. All of them had as well signed up for Twitter, LinkedIn and had fully understood how to do an Advanced Search on Google and as well as use RSS. The youth were very happy and excited to discover these new modes of networking, interaction and communication

Interestingly, during periods of Break Tea, these passionate group of youth were always glued to there desktops and it was kind of hard to convince them to stop interacting on these platforms.

I introduced the youth to different web 2.0 Networks example the CTA Face book page and mailing list, WOUGNET ICT4Dyouth network and many other Agricultural and ICT4D related websites to their excitement

By the time we were finishing our training on Day 5, the youth never wanted these training opportunity to end and in fact continued asking me if we would further continue the training in the near future. Our online Evaluation analysis through the survey monkey showed over 90% of success in our training. Currently, the youth know how to use these different platforms and the important roles that knowledge of such tools can contribute to development.

Today, Many of these youth are still communicating with me on Skype, I see and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, they have learnt how they can aggregate information from different website of their interest and they are continuously applying and using these platforms. It was therefore clear to me that the use of web 2.0 and Social Media learning opportunity can help change perceptions of youth, influence them in development oriented work and can be fruitful in advocating for positive change!

Photos of the training can be accessed at the WOUGNET Facebook Page

Moses Owiny is a web 2.0 and Social Media Trainer and also the Information and Youth ICT4D Officer at WOUGNET