Traore, S. (2009) Distance Learning in Conflict Zones: Tales from the African Virtual University (AVU) e-Learning Africa Newsportal, April 7

Extract: ‘In Somalia, torn apart after the collapse of the military regime of Syad Barre in 1991, entire generations missed out on an education; others had their schooling interrupted, whilst university students saw their careers and dreams destroyed. Worse, most of the professionals who survived the civil war left the country, mainly for Europe and America. So how do you provide education in a country that has neither government nor a functioning civilian infrastructure?

A few universities have been re-established in Somalia since the year 2000 but resources are still scarce. However, experiences from the African Virtual University’s distance learning initiative in Somalia show how ICT-enhanced learning can support long-term development even in the most desolate and abandoned regions of the continent.’

Another preview of a presentation at the e-Learning Africa conference in Dakar, Senegal, May 27-29, about the delivery of online journalism and IT courses from Indiana University and New Jersey Institute of Technology into the heart of Somalia through collaboration with the African Virtual University and a local Somali university. This is one of the most heartening stories I’ve read for some while. After reading this article, I don’t want to hear any more whining from universities in developed countries about the impact of the recession. Just get on with it.



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