More networking of African IT specialists with Europe and joint building of advanced training materials – this is what a new partnership of FOSSFA's and GIZ’s ict@innovation programme with the Europe-wide ‘Free Technology Academy’ (FTA) is all about. The Free Technology Academy (FTA), financially supported by the Life Long Learning programme (LLP) of the European Commission, is a collaboration between the Netherlands-based Free Knowledge Institute and three European universities.
Following the signature of a letter of intent, the African ict@innovation community now has access to FTA's European expertise and advanced online training courses. Already, more than 15 IT experts from Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda are participating online in courses such as “Legal aspects of the Information Society” or “Network Technologies”. On the other hand, ict@innovation is sharing its wealth of expertise with the FTA community in areas such as the economic aspects of FOSS and capacity building material on African business models. One example is ict@innovation’s advanced training course "Free your IT-Business in Africa!", which contains eight indepth case studies of African IT-businesses and organisations which successfully make a business around FOSS. The material has been collaboratively developed by FOSS experts from Africa and Europe to be used as training material for experts and executive staff from IT businesses in Africa, ICT-associations, their member organisations, ICT-training institutions as well as universities and their trainers.
"Kinako! It's the time! The right time, for Africa's ICT entrepreneurs and society in general to leverage on such open and available technologies via the FTA. I am looking forward to more mutual and beneficial engagement with the FTA in this endeavour. Beneficial to our ICT@INNOVATION community and Africa as whole ."
FTA Board Member Hinde ten Berge adds:
“We're very happy to welcome ict@innovation into our partner network. They bring in lots of expertise on Free Software business models. Moreover, they have strong ties to the African community and our outreach opportunities in this region will have a great boost! We hope to greet more African learners in our campus soon.”
The ict@innovation programme will contribute to the FTA in various ways, such as providing Guest Lectures to FTA courses and distributing FTA news through their networks. Both the FTA and the ict@innovation programme will promote the use of their educational materials related to Free Software and Open Innovation and contribute to those with relevant feedback and reviews. The addition of the ict@innovation programme to the partner network brings in strong ties to the African community and the outreach in this region will be enlarged substantially. Overall, the partnership reinforces regional, subregional and national networking, peer learning and outreach on key issues such as FOSS business models and local innovative FOSS-applications.
About the Free Technology Academy
The Free Technology Academy (FTA) is a joint initiative from several educational institutions in various countries. It aims to contribute to a society that permits all users to study, participate and build upon existing knowledge without restrictions. The FTA offers an online master level programme with course modules about Free Technologies. These courses are taught completely online in a virtual campus based on the Campus Project interoperability framework.
Following the Open Educational Resources movement, all learning materials are made freely available through the Internet. The use of Free Software (also referred to as Open Source software or Libre Software) is rapidly expanding in governmental and private organisations. However, still only a limited number of ICT professionals, teachers and decision makers have sufficient knowledge and expertise in these new fields. The Free Technology Academy aims to address this gap by providing high level courses that fit into larger Master Programmes at the participating universities. From 2008 till 2010 the FTA received the support from the EC's Lifelong Learning Programme to set up an international educational programme on Free Software. The programme is currently funded with the income generated from tuition fees.
The FTA is a collaboration between the Free Knowledge Institute and three European universities: the Open University of Catalonia (Spain), the Open University of the Netherlands and the University of Agder (Norway). The Associate Partner Network adds to the founding base with a network of organisations that share a common interest in offering courses in the area of Free Technology.
* More information: http://www.ftacademy.org
* Contact information: contact[AT]ftacademy.org
* About FTA Associate Network: http://ftacademy.org/about/associate-network
* FTA Study Programme 2011: http://ftacademy.org/courses/programme/2011
* FTA Community Portal: http://campus.ftacademy.org/community/
About the ict@innovation programme
The ict@innovation programme builds capacities in African small and medium size ICT enterprises to make a business with Free Software. ict@innovation aims to encourage the growth of African ICT industries, particularly in Southern and East Africa, through three main actions: spreading Free Software business models for enterprises in Africa, fostering Free Software certification and supporting innovative local Free Software applications for social and economic development. ict@innovation is a partnership of FOSSFA (Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa) and the 'Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)', Germany [until 2011: InWEnt, now part of GIZ].
About GIZ - Broad-based expertise for sustainable development – under one roof
Working efficiently, effectively and in a spirit of partnership, we support people and societies in developing, transition and industrialised countries in shaping their own futures and improving living conditions. This is what the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is all about. Established on 1 January 2011, it brings together under one roof the long-standing expertise of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) gGmbH (German development service), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German technical cooperation) and InWEnt – Capacity Building International, Germany. As a federally owned enterprise, we support the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. We are also engaged in international education work around the globe.
Making development effective
Our partners want to take responsibility for achieving their own long-term development goals. We support them by offering demand-driven, tailor-made and effective services for sustainable development. We apply a holistic and value-based approach to ensure the participation of all stakeholders. In doing so, we are always guided by our concept of sustainable development. We take account of political, economic, social and ecological dimensions as we support our partners at local, regional, national and international level in negotiating solutions in the broader social context. This is how we drive development.
GIZ operates in many fields, including economic development and employment; governance and democracy; security, reconstruction, peace building and civil conflict transformation; food security, health and basic education; and environmental protection, resource conservation and climate change mitigation. We also provide management and logistical services to help our partners perform their development tasks. In crises we carry out refugee and emergency aid programmes. As part of our development services, we also second technical advisors to partner countries.
We advise our clients and partners on drawing up plans and strategies, place integrated experts and returning experts in partner countries, and promote networking and dialogue among international cooperation actors. Capacity building for partner-country experts is a key component of our services, and we offer our programme participants diverse opportunities to use the contacts they have made. We also give young people a chance to gain professional experience around the world – exchange programmes for young professionals lay the foundations for successful careers in national and international markets.