On 27 July at SINTIA’s national headquarters, it began the Annual Workshop on Electronic Communication supported by UITA Global Sugar, having as an objective to contribute towards the strengthening of the communication among the structures of the SINTIA, its local its committees and with the UITA Global Sugar.
With a report from Helena Francisco Bene and Baptista B. Tivane.
First Day: 27 July.
After the opening session, the facilitator introduced the Internet, discussing the Trojan horses, some issues of computer care, and the use of the some electronic means of communication such the Yahoo Group. To use the Internet, it said, it is necessary to have a modem and a navigation program such as Explorer. Internet was defined as the largest computer network in the world that allows the exchange of information of more varied subjects. Some of the applications available on the Internet are the World Wide Web (www) and electronic mail.
The workshop has the participation of representatives from the Companhia de Sena (Marromeu), Açucareira de Mozambique (Mafambisse), Maragra Sugar, Azucareira de Incomati (Xinavane) and PROCANA (Massingir).
Second Day: 28 July.
The session started at 9:00 hours, with the facilitator discuss the definition and use of the electronic mail, addresses and passwords. The participants then had practical lessons in the computers, making tables, increasing lines and columns of a table. They looked at Microsoft Office Word used in word processing; the steps to launch the program. They also looked at some of the basic keys on the word processing software. Towards the end of the afternoon, they were introduced to Skype and did some exercises in its use.
Third Day: 29 July.
The session began at 9:00 hours as usual, with practical lessons on Skype.
The workshop received a visit of Cuana Angula, an IUF person in charge of a project related to Coca Cola. Cuana is based in South Africa. He asked for the participants to send information on the workers’ situation (accidents, collective agreements, strikes, etc.). He also distributed copies of an IUF publication on Outsourcing and Casualisation in the Food and Beverage Sector. The IUF Global Sugar Coordinator welcome After the lunch, the participants continued with practical lessons, mainly in the use of the Skype, chat, messages and video calls.
Fourth Day: 30 July.
The session was devoted to the IUF sugar site, with a review of the process of production and posting of news, as well as posting comments on the site. The participants had written a daily report (see above) as a first step in producing an article on their workshop. Then, having the text on the large screen, the group as a whole discussed and edited the text. In the editing process they decided on what the sense of article and also the appropriate wording for what they wanted to say. For instance, they used an Internet-based dictionary to make sure of the meaning and correct spelling of certain words, and rewrote some of the sentences several times before reaching an agreement on the final version.
After the text was finalised, they selected a photo and observed the process of posting the whole document on the sugar site in Spanish/Portuguese. The final step was to visit the site and post their personal comments to it.
A short presentation on the African Sugar Project followed this exercise, which gave the participants the larger context for the SINTIA workshop and its relation to the work with other unions.
The participants were then asked to write a “format-free” evaluation, in which they chose the topic of the comments for the IUF Global Sugar and SINTIA. They had the option to make comments of a general character or to select a specific topic or area of the workshop. The general issues underlined in the evaluation were the need to have ready for distribution background material on electronic communication and the Internet, access to equipment, and the recommendation to the union to organise similar workshops more frequently. Their contribution will be an input on the evaluation of the ICT training programs within the project implemented by IUF Global Sugar Program in East and southern Africa. The project has the support of the Social Justice Fund of the Canadian Auto Workers (SJF-CAW).