Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Eastern and Southern Africa (APLESA) Pre-Conference Data Literacy Workshop

By LHorton 2 | May 24, 2019

By, Ms. Winny Nekesa Akullo

Some of the Participants at the Data Literacy Training Workshop held on 4 th May 2019, Kampala, Uganda

Through its Membership Committee’s event sponsorship program, IASSIST recently sponsored a one day pre- Conference Training Workshop on Data Literacy for the Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Eastern and Southern Africa (APLESA). The workshop aimed to help librarians acquire data literacy skills in order to produce statistics/data that can be used for reporting and evidence based planning.

The workshop was held at the Makerere University School of Computing and Information Sciences, Kampala, Uganda, attracting over 30 participants from Malawi, Uganda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana and Mozambique. Attendees came from from Parliaments, government departments, academia and publiclibraries.

The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Winny Nekesa Akullo, the IASSIST Event Liaison Coordinator and Prof. Constant Obura-Okello, who is also the Dean of East African School of Library and Information (EASLIS). Mr. Simon Engitu, the Secretary of APLESA was the workshop moderator.

Winny exhibiting at the APLESA conference

In his opening remarks, the President of APLESA, appreciated the support from IASSIST and the importance of the workshop, emphasizing the value of data in reporting and planning. With the theme of conference “Taking Parliament to the People: the Role of Parliament Libraries in Bridging the Gap between the People and Parliament”. There is need for the Parliament libraries to work together with Research Services departments to improve research data management and data literacy skills.

The workshop topics included data and storytelling; basics of data literacy and its importance, and basics of data visualization using RAWgraphs. During sessions, participants were assigned group work related to topics and discussed their group work.

Mr. Andrew Bayunga of Uganda discussing his group's work

Ms. Amina Sanghoro of Kenya discussing her group's work

Ms. Nekesa informed the participants that they don’t need to be statisticians to carry out data management, but as librarians they need to gain data literacy skills to support researchers and other patrons. We need to illustrate and inform public opinion, substantiate for others what we already know using data which will provide a basis for evident based planning. Hence there is need to learn to generate and analyze the data we receive in the libraries and better serve our clients.

Prof. Obura reminded the participants that that data literacy is the ability to understand and use data effectively to form decisions. He informed them that data literacy is a new concept in Africa and therefore, there is need to include it in LIS curriculum and train data librarians who are able to handle data requests from researchers and other clients.

Feedback from workshop participants indicated overwhelming satisfaction with content. They also recommended to form a member’s forum; a workshop on integrated data literacy into the academic curriculum; a training of trainers of data literacy technical working group; and form technical working groups for data literacy in Eastern and Southern Africa

An interim working group was formed to further the interest of data literacy in the Eastern and Southern Africa.

  • Academic representative: Loyce Mutimbwa (Uganda)
  • Student representative: Akello Cissy (Uganda), Chancy Makamo (Malawi)
  • Parliamentarians: Simon Engitu (Uganda), Mr. Miguel (Angola)
  • Other Government Agencies: Sadres Twinomugisha
  • Patron: Prof. Constant Okello-Obura

At the end of the workshop, participants were presented with certificates.

Ms. Kamau reviving her certificate

Mr. Enguitu, secretary of APLESA, Professor Obura, and Mr. Cambiete, president of APLESA