ICTs keep playing an increasingly instrumental role to facilitate collaboration and exchange of knowledge among people. 96% of millennials have joined social networks and consider emails outdated. In 2012, 50% of all internet users signed up on social networks and more and more non-profits are considering a priority to devise a social media strategy. The UN Secretary General report to the ECOSOC 2013 on Science, Technology and Innovation notes that ICts “are the main gateways through which information and knowledge are accessed. They increasingly facilitate development by providing citizens with the necessary tools for self-empowerment and business with the avenues and know-how to significantly increase economic activity.’’
UNITAR is helping development professionals to discover the power of social media. In partnership with FAO, the Institute delivers Innovative Collaboration for Development (ICfD), a 9-week e-Learning course that enables development practitioners to explore the potential of social media and web 2.0 tools to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their work and enhance the outreach of their organizations.
Learning and engagement doesn’t end when the courses finishes. Alumni continue to further enhance their knowledge, accessing information on ICfD Facebookpage and sharing experiences on ICfD Voices, a dedicated blog that reflects the impact of the course through real-life stories.
Direct feedback received from participants has revealed that although many of them were aware of some social media and Web 2.0 tools and used them for personal purposes, they were surprised to discover the extensive portfolio of tools available and delighted to learn how they could use them on the work they were doing.
ICfD was launched in 2010. Since then more than 300 participants from all over the world have enhanced their knowledge and ability to utilize social media and web 2.0 tools. Evaluation results have consistently demonstrated that the course is bridging a real need with participants indicating 100% satisfaction, 91% recognition of the quality of the content and 96% intent to use the newly acquired knowledge.
UNITAR/FAO deliver regular sessions of ICfD in Spring, Summer, and Fall each year. The course is currently offered in English and French.