Increasing Researchers' Digital Literacy in Ethiopia

Here's how Ambo University's first Data Carpentry workshop went in December 2019

Ambo University in Ethiopia conducted its first ever Carpentries workshop from 17-19 October 2019 at the Main Campus which is located 100km from the Capital Addis Ababa (Finfinne). The Workshop was organized by Team Carpentries Ethiopia led by Dr.Margareth Greferer founder of R-Ladies Addis Ababa and Yared Abera Ergu (Library Carpentry Advisory Board Member 2019-2022) in association with Ambo University Academic Vice President, Ass. Professor Mulu Kitaba.

During the workshop three active instructors – 1 Mr. Yared Abera Ergu 2 Dr.Margareth Greferer, and 3 Bonny Adane – and one helper – 4Miss Yirefu Teferra Tekilessilase (PhD Student Addis Ababa University) – executed an amazing team effort teaching Data Carpentry Training. The participants were members of the University senior academic staff, Librarians and Researchers in different fields from across the University.


Workshop Theme: “Increasing Researchers’ Digital Literacy at Ambo University: Data Carpentry Workshop.”
Workshop page on GitHub: https://educationstrategycenter.github.io/2019-12-17-DC/

The Impact of Carpentries in Ethiopia

The Carpentries has done a lot of training in Ethiopia ranging from basic workshops on the three focus areas: Data Carpentry, Library Carpentry and Software Carpentry and instructors training for professionals from Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia.

The Carpentry Instructors Training, Ethiopia 2018

The Carpentry Instructors Training, Ethiopia 2018

Throughout the training the support of the following institutions was so huge and impactful. And the contribution of the Carpentries training in our higher education institutions stands tall among other similar training for many reasons.

Ambo University Carpentry Workshop Supporters

Lessons from the Workshop

Before the workshop, we conducted needs assessment and introduced the Carpentries in order to raise awareness of Carpentries training and explain what makes it different from other training. We also distributed pre-workshop and post-workshop surveys to measure the gaps and successes of the workshop.

Ambo University Carpentry Workshop @ Main Campus, Ambo Ambo University Carpentry Workshop @ Main Campus, Ambo

Some of the improvement ideas captured after the workshop were that learners:

  • Liked that they were given a link to complete the activities and learning resources. They found the course website engaging and easy to use.
  • Raised a concern for the continuity of the workshop and ways they can contribute to strengthen it.
  • Wanted to use their own research data and examples in one of the sessions.
  • Appreciated that the workshop emphasised hands on practice and found it highly relevant to their scenarios but found the session limited.
  • Thought that basic programming knowledge was needed, and would have preferred to pre-read materials on some of the tools and programming languages. For all the learners are not on equal status.
  • Needed a stable internet connection, but there was some interruption.
  • Wanted more time for questions and answers for some lessons.
  • Needed particular kinds of training more specific to their fields of study.

Wrap- Up Session

The Workshop participants were highly motivated by the amount of exposure they got to the tools and knowledge they have acquired in such a short period of time. And some even redefined the training as “Great experience & vital skills for working on and understanding research software’s, programming techniques and tools.”

At the end of the workshop on 19 October 2019, R-Ladies Addis Ababa sister organization Ambo University was inaugurated. On that same day, the board members were elected and given assignments by R-Ladies Addis Ababa. Finally, we gave participants and the University Management a brief introduction to the tools, software, approaches, learning resources and platforms of the Carpentries. We ended the session by sharing the goals and the foundational principles of the Carpentry Community across the globe.

Instructors Bibliography

1: Mr.Yared Abera Ergu is an active member of Team Carpentries Ethiopia and certified instructor in teaching Data and Software Carpentry. Beside Yared is Library Carpentry Advisory Board Member https://librarycarpentry.org/advisory . Currently He is Dean of School of Technology and Informatics @Ambo University, Woliso Campus. Lecturer, in Information Systems Department. Email Yared here or here.
2: Dr. Margareth Gfrerer- Founder R-Ladies Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and founder of Carpentries Team Ethiopia. She is an Education Scientist and currently working in Education Strategy Center (ESC) @International Leadership Institute, Sidist Kilo, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Email Margareth here or here.
3: Bonny Adane (MSc) Founder R-Ladies Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa University Email Bonny here.
4: Helper: Miss Yirefu Teferra Tekilessilase (PhD Student Addis Ababa University. Email her here.

Dialogue & Discussion