Monday, September 29, 2008

Hard assignment plus bone soup

The workshop finished on Saturday, and I’m posting this from Dar es Salaam. Mvua nyingi sana mjini hapa.

It was a hard week, I guess both for the participants and the trainer, with quite some uncertainties in the beginning whether we get going with the full group of trainers at all. However, things started to run when on spot, as so many times before at Tumaini, Iringa. For organizing any workshops or projects over there, there’s still need for improvement in the communication and arrangements.

The group was small but intense, with three of the journalism department teachers and one graduate from this year attending the workshop most of the time. We also had another teacher from the education department joining in for one day, as well as three Finnish students giving the workshop some extra strength for the last two days. Julius Mtemahanji, the new head of the journalism department, also recovered from an illness to be with us for the last day of the workshop.

Shortly about the last day, that is Sat 27 Sept. We started a bit late which was just okay, allowing me to work on some links to this site. Then the participants did a posting reflecting the previous day’s issues, also adding at least one link.

Next topic was email correspondence and email communication skills, with some concrete examples: first a thread of email correspondence with a business colleague and then an example of a local journalist corresponding with a newspaper editor about providing a story.

Finally, after lunch, the participants were asked to write a short posting on a given topic, a bit more complicated search than just checking names of capitals or presidents of different countries. This was clearly more difficult than expected. Searching for simple details is one thing, but searching for backgrounds, facts and views from several sources and producing a short journalistic story based on that research should be practiced much more. There’s no regular teaching of this in any journalism school in Tanzania – but the need for practicing is definitely there. Also for the trainers.

At the end of the workshop, we learned how to post images. See Simon last year in the mountains of Lesotho at Berege Info.

In the evening we got together again to have a discussion about future over some bone soup and mbuzi na chipsi.

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