By APCNews GOA, India, 12 May 2005
The Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK) provides trainers in telecentres, community media organisations, and the development sector with a structured set of materials to help make that jump between new and traditional media or train in a new skill area.
The first version of the kit was released two years ago, but updated versions have been released regularly.
It is seen as being of particularly relevance as more and more people see the creative potential of linking the Internet to more traditional communication technologies, particularly radio and television.
Its release, announced in July 2003, drew interest from NGOs, people in communication, and alternate campaigners. All MMTK materials are released under a Creative Commons license which allows their free use and distribution for non-commercial use.
Now, an evaluation carried out by OneWorld.Net, one of the partner organisations in the MMTK initiative, has come out with positive findings.
“Overall, I’ve found the MMTK CDs to be very useful as they contain tons of user-friendly material that’s packaged in formats that allow for the creation of myriad learning environments.
Most encouraging is the fact that anyone can build their own capacity as well as run collective workshops”, noted Elizabeth Araujo, Training Co-ordinator with Women’sNet, South Africa, in one of the evaluation’s case studies.
Conducted in the first quarter of 2005, the survey used field research, interviews, questionnaires, an online survey, case studies and web statistics to review the partnership initiative under which ten organizations have joined forces to produce an open access suite of workshop-ready training materials. The kit is distributed online and on CD Rom.
The evaluation described the main achievement as “the creation of an effective partnership to deliver a widely used training product, which is having an impact in building the capacity of grassroots communication trainers”. The production system was described as efficient and cost-effective.
For the production of training modules and units, UNESCO issues contracts under which partners tender to produce the materials. The production process is “ably coordinated” by MMTK partner APC, the Association for Progressive Communication, says the report.
Before the MMTK initiative began, partners were producing training materials separately and in parallel to each other. Partners said they appreciate the value-added of a system whereby each partner’s institutional agenda allies with a collective agenda. Respondents also highlighted the avoidance of duplication as one of the achievements of the partnership.
The fact that partners are now using the MMTK format to go ahead with materials production in the framework of other projects presents an opportunity to ‘harvest all sorts of other training budget lines”, says Stella Hughes of UNESCO, ‘to the benefit of a broader user base’.
However, the partners agree with the report’s finding that it is important to step up the coordinated production process and develop the search and bundling tools required to help users of the kit customize their own workshop from its wide range of materials.
This MMTK initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative involving the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), UNESCO, OneWorld International, AMARC, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD), Search for Common Ground, Radio for Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Panos Institute West Africa.
Materials included cover a range of areas, from technical skills to organisational development.
Materials follow a standard format and so can be used as interchangeable building blocks from which trainers can build up face-to-face training appropriate for their different contexts.
So, for instance, a trainer running a workshop on information skills for a women’s organisation could choose components from the “Searching the Internet” unit and the “Violence Against Women” module and combine them into a single workshop kit. Individuals can also use many of the materials for self-instruction.
Each unit includes notes for trainers on running the workshop, a handout for workshop participants, exercises, a list of additional resources, a glossary of terms, a copyright statement and workshop and materials evaluation forms. Many units contain additional resources such as presentations, detailed manuals for trainers, and case studies of how the tools in question are being used in different contexts.