IFWEA Global Knowledge Community News

Sep 07

Building digital skills, step by step

Fatou Diouf is a Project Coordinator with Public Services International (PSI), the global union federation of workers in public services. She is currently based in Dakar, Senegal. Fatou is one of 36 participants from 18 countries who have enrolled in the IFWEA Training of Trainers Course: Digital Tools and Methods for Conducting Online Trade Union Activities, which is supported by the DGB Bildungswerk. She speaks about the course and how she will be able to use this in her work with PSI:

Please tell us what your role in PSI is?

I am Project Coordinator for the PSI in French speaking Africa . Currently, I am involved in projects in four countries: Niger, where we are focusing on young workers and women; Cameroon, where we are looking at remunipalisation of the main water company; Cameroon and DRC, where health workers in conflict zones are facing many problems, including safety concerns (new nurses especially don’t want to work in these conditions, and hospitals can remain closed for months or even years); a project in DRC focusing on young workers and leadership; and a campaign for the ratification of C.190 in Senegal.

How long have you been with PSI?

I was a Youth Representative for the Africa and Arab Region from 2012 to 2017, and joined as staff in 2019.

Why did you join the Training of Trainers Course?

I really, really wanted to do this course when I saw it offered!  Last year I collaborated as a tutor with the International Training Centre (ITC) at the ILO e-campus, which was an amazing experience. When I saw another opportunity, I wanted it.

How has the experience been, with participants from all over the world?

It’s the first time for me to be working with comrades from places that are really far from where I am  – like Macau. And interesting to share the struggles that we face as trade unionists and activists, and how people are organising. when it comes to digital tools and skills – we are having very similar issues. I don’t think we will necessarily find common solutions, because the culture and conditions are different, but definitely we can find things that can be done.

What have you learned so far?

The first time I watched a video on the platform, and how to use the platform, I was amazed! I am learning so much – and particularly enjoying how to build a course, doing it myself, step by step. I am learning how to build a course on Monitoring and Evaluation, from the very beginning. It is good to have Saliem (Saliem Patel, IFWEA Programme Manager) and Melanie (Melanie Julie, IFWEA E-Learning Developer)and the team on board, they have good thoughts and show us tips.

How will the course help you, in your work at PSI?

Oh, it will help very much. For example, I want to design a course that focuses on PSI, and Melanie has created a space for me to design this.  It will explain who we are, what is our work, why we tackle certain issues, why it is so important to fight for the rights of public service workers. We have some new affiliates, and having a presentation on what PSI stands for will be really helpful for them, and for us coordinators. We usually have to explain ourselves for each project or activity, so this will be a very big step for the future. It will help lots of people, not only French speaking as we can do it in English and Arabic as well.

Why are digital skills so important in terms of organising workers?

It has become a necessity to learn more digital skills – for work and for fun!. Everything is online now. Although, I can say that in the past, before the pandemic, I personally believed in working online to save money and time. There were other options before Zoom, such as Skype.

Working online has definitely saved us money. No need to travel! Every year we would budget for me to travel, but last year and this year we could channel that money into training activities, including focusing on women, building digital skills, improving communication etc.

We even bought a new computer and IT tools in DRC. And this year, saving money will help us cover a region in Niger we could not reach before due to budget restraints, and allow us to do training for women in the DRC.

I want to take this chance to thank IFWEA, for accepting me on this course. I hope we will continue learn more, both as trainers and trainees.

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