Over 50 attendees, including Alumni Association executive members from 20 African countries and delegates of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) from six locations around Africa participated in the first Alumni Association Capacity Building Workshop held in Pretoria on 23 and 24 February. The two-day capacity-building workshop provided tools to strengthen the leadership of Alumni associations across Africa, enabling them to develop sustainable organisations.
Alumni associations at different stages of formation from Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia participated. The association members included Australian Scholarship recipients and privately funded alumni who studied in Australia.
The event was both theoretical and practical, allowing participants to engage with important capacity- building concepts and topics, and propose a common vision and framework for Alumni associations. Participants shared ideas and experiences from their associations, and developed constructive action plans for implementation in 2015 and beyond. The forum was also an opportunity for invaluable peer-to-peer learning and networking opportunities.
To celebrate the inaugural Alumni Association Capacity Building Workshop, Australian High Commission Chargé d’Affaires, Chris Munn, hosted an evening reception on Monday, 23 February. In his remarks, he noted that Alumni associations have the potential for extensive development impact and are important in forging Australia-Africa links. “We are very happy to have been able to launch this initiative to support, collaborate with and help build the capacity of Australia Africa Alumni associations, so that Alumni associations can improve their effectiveness and outreach to the broader community and become sustainable organisations. Networking with each other and with the broader professional community locally and globally provides opportunities for members to build their professional skills and networks, and, of course, to remain connected to Australia. It is through acquired knowledge and skills, leadership and enthusiasm that our Alumni (present here today and others elsewhere in Africa) can bring about positive change.”
Cameroon Alumni Association President, Eric Ngang also spoke during the reception of how the workshop will help ensure his association’s sustainability moving forward. “I wish to thank the Australian Government, not only for the support during the awards, but also for the ongoing professional development support, including this opportunity of bringing together the leadership of Alumni associations across Africa for the first time to cross-fertilise ideas and, upon return, enhance the impact and sustainability of the associations.”