The FIG Africa Regional Network
- Developing capacity in Africa

Jennifer Whittal, FIG Africa Regional Capasity Network

"The FIG Capacity Development Network (CDN) is playing a leading role in bringing regional member associations and academic members together using a networking approach. This is based on enhancing communication in the region and promoting the ideals of the FIG. Our Facebook site is the principal platform for communication. We share FIG events as well as MOOCs, education opportunities, FIG Foundation and other information of interest in building capacity in Africa. Please LIKE the Facebook page @FIGARN to stay connected"

Leading together

The FIG ARN has a distributed leadership structure with representation from the North, West, East, Central and Southern African regions. Within each of these regions is a YSAN champion. The ARN is also expanding its contact list through google forms, but the principle means of communication is the Facebook page in preference to email.

Supporting tertiary education

We are currently running various themed Groups on the page to facilitate sharing of resources for remote tertiary education in Africa. Groups for teaching land law, GIS, plane surveying, and GNSS are some of the first Groups to be established. We face challenges that demand a different response to delivery compared to the solutions appropriate in the developed world. These challenges include lack of hardware and lack of internet connection (including cell phone connection), and inability to purchase data for essential connectivity. Lecturers in Africa must therefor deliver non-synchronised content with very low data requirements. Videoed lectures and online tutorials should be reduced to a minimum or avoided. The Facebook @FIGARN Group platform will facilitate sharing of methods and resources but will not be a repository for teaching materials. Although set up for African educators, this Facebook page and these dedicated Groups are open to all. If you who would like to contribute to this community then first LIKE the Facebook page @FIGARN and request to join the appropriate Group.

Getting together

At every Working Week and Congress the ARN has a dedicated breakfast meeting or session along with the Young Surveyors Africa Network (YSAN). Presentations related to capacity building in Africa are also included and the needs of the collective may be gauged through a live questionnaires, for example, using Mentimeter. Our future events are posted on our Facebook site – they are currently in the process of change.
The FIG ARN also aims to address the language divide in Africa. We held a joint conference with the FGF Universities in Senegal, Dakar in November 2019. A dedicated breakfast meeting mirrored those at the FIG conferences – here we promoted the ARN to francophone Africa. We are very grateful for the invitation from the FGF and the extraordinary lengths the member association hosting the conference (ONGES) and FGF organisers went to in their inclusion of the ARN and English-speaking participants.

What are the needs?

An ARN online survey has been conducted to gauge needs for capacity development. The information is disaggregated into professional, academic and YSAN but only the summary is presented below.
Member associations need to promote involvement with and inclusion of the young surveyors, particularly facilitating mentoring programmes. Networking opportunities are highly valued, while the most pressing needs are for knowledge and skills development both in technical aspects of our work as well as in the softer skills such as business, legislation, communication.

Read our annual report here

LIKE us on FACEBOOK – use this in your search engine to find us: @FIGARN


Jennifer Whittal,
Chair, Africa FIG Capacity Development Network
International Federation of Surveyors, FIG