Delivering Australia Awards – Africa Fellowships is making an immediate impact by training African professionals to develop and implement return-to-work plans that focus on contributing to the Millennium Development Goals.
Stakeholders at the Australia Awards – Africa Fellowships Evaluation Workshop held in Pretoria, South Africa on 18 and 19 February, confirmed that the flexible and unique approach to Australia Awards –Africa Fellowship delivery allows for technical relevance and contextualisation through increased in-Africa delivery.
In 2012, 404 African professionals participated in the Australia Awards initiative in 16 Fellowships delivered by seven Australian providers in partnership with African educational institutions.
“The Australia Awards are not just providing good courses to good people, but are about a broader strategic partnership and linkages between Australia and Africa in key priority development areas,” said Mr Jamie Isbister, Minister Counsellor, Development Cooperation (Africa) in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Key outcomes from the discussions included confirmation that Australia Awards – Africa Fellowships will continue to be a key program in delivering development initiatives in Africa in the coming years. They will continue to offer customised training in targeted sectoral technical areas that support partner government development priorities.
Alumni will form a key element of future activities. Alumni at the workshop emphasised the increased confidence they experienced on return to their workplaces. Their enhanced technical and professional skills have also been acknowledged within their workplaces. Future Africa Fellowship delivery will explore mechanisms to continue to support Australia Awards Alumni as they continue to contribute to the development of their organisations, professions and community.
Broadening and deepening partnerships was a key constant in the two-day discussions. Currently, 39% of training weeks are delivered in Africa. This was considered a very positive aspect of the current activities.
The Australian Government emphasised the importance of training fellowship providers to nurture and sustain meaningful relationships. Providing Awardees with opportunities to explore and experience best practice in Africa by engaging with African partners was considered critical to the successful design of the Fellowships.
Australia Awards Africa will be offering up to 450 awards in 17 courses being delivered in 2013.