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Activity no. 2: Develop information portals and e-services to support capacity building initiatives of the APKN.

 

Activity 2.1 Develop the African Parliamentary Knowledge Network Portal
2.1.1 Set up and maintain the APKN portal including collaborative services for members/staff like, mailing lists, working groups, shared repositories, and e-alert services.
2.1.2 Create and update an online directory of information sources and thematic newsletters relevant to the Parliamentary Africa agenda.
2.1.3 Support the development and maintenance Africa News Monitor (ANM) component of APKN portal to provide news relevant for Parliaments with news, customisable by country, subject, regional and international issues etc.
2.1.4 Support the development and maintenance Africa Parliamentary Information Exchange (APEX) component of APKN portal to support inter-parliamentary cooperation concerning PAP-National Parliaments’ dialogue.
2.1.5 Support the deployment and maintenance of an e-Learning component of to support online training activities of APKN portal

 

The Portal will provide access to policy-relevant information, news, and legislation relevant to African Parliaments as well as news data mining services, e-learning, etc. It will be built through cooperative efforts of Parliaments and possibly in partnership with news agencies, universities, and research institutions. The aim is to make available to Parliaments high quality information and services for policy debate and support capacity building initiatives.

The Project will aim at the development of the following features:

  • Weekly roundup of Parliamentary business of African Assemblies – The portal will aggregate on a weekly basis all the major activities in each participating Parliament. This service will depend on individual Parliaments submitting the roundup of their activities and business to the portal.
  • Directory of Information sources and thematic newsletters relevant to the Africa parliamentary agenda – The portal will have a ‘yahoo-style’ directory of various information sources relevant to African Parliaments.
  • Collaborative services for members/staff including mailing lists, working groups, shared repositories, and e-alert services – These services will be used by parliamentarians (members and staff of Parliaments) for ad hoc communication online and also to provide an organized discussion forum with various topics of interest. It will be possible to form on-line working groups in specific interest areas.

The Africa News Monitor (ANM) component is based on data mining technologies developed by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). The ANM will gather on-line news reports from news portals world wide, in different languages, analyse and classify the content of the reports, aggregate the information, issue alerts and produce intuitive visual presentations of the information found.

The Africa Parliamentary Information Exchange (APEX) component is meant to improve exchange of information between the National Parliaments and the Pan Africa Parliament and among African Parliaments. National Parliaments in Africa may take part, with the degree of involvement decided by each Parliament. Each Parliament is recommended to inform the other Parliaments on its activities concerning cross-national initiatives and the recommendations of the Pan African Parliament.

The aim is to support inter-parliamentary cooperation with regard to the PAP and National Parliaments’ dialogue. The Exchange will enable the access to relevant documents and information relating to the scrutiny of the activities of the Pan African Parliament by National Parliaments. It will also facilitate communication and co-operation among African Parliaments. APEX will also provide National Parliaments that have presently not developed parliamentary websites with a medium for publishing relevant parliamentary documentation in electronic form.

The e-Learning component will constitute the point of access to training for parliamentarians, managers, administrative, and technical staff. The e-learning section of the portal will serve as a learning source for all African Parliaments, and will provide access to training modules developed by other Parliaments and institutions. It will thus serve as a “warehouse” for parliamentary courseware and learning tools and services.

Activity 2.2 Support the design and delivery of training material
2.2.1 Design and develop interactive e-learning modules, etc. in partnership with relevant institutions.
2.2.2 Design and develop video lectures, webminars, etc. in partnership with relevant institutions.
2.2.3 Support the production and dissemination of guidelines, best practices, manuals, etc.

 
The Project will promote and focus its activities on the development of e-learning modules in the context of the APKN work-plan. They will be available in different languages and will have modules specific for the different legal and parliamentary traditions. The e-training and e-learning modules are meant not just for self-teaching but also as support to traditional courses and seminars and training institutions.

For the development of courseware, partnerships with specialized institutions will be facilitated. The training programmes will include among others: legislative drafting, legal analysis, markup of legislative and parliamentary document, XML, online information resources, etc.

The Project will also support the development of interactive on-line courses from currently paper-based coursework. Much of the readily available training material is currently paper-based and is delivered using the traditional face-to-face approach which is quite restrictive when it comes to dissemination of the same training at a regional/continental level. The Project will evaluate the possibility to digitize high quality existing paper-based training material and to develop electronic versions of the course-work which can then be distributed in an interactive format via an appropriate e-learning platform and translated in different languages.

Activity 2.3 Support the setting up of e-services
2.3.1 Support the acquisition and set up of e-meeting platform/services.
2.3.2 Support the acquisition of Computer Assisted Translation and Terminology Management software, related equipment and development of Translation Memories.

e-Meetings/workshops – They are a very effective and economic alternative that replicate the dynamic interaction of face-to-face meetings, using a rich set of online tools and capabilities. An e-meeting platform may include integrated audio and video conferencing, application sharing with mark-up, slides with animation, real-time feedback, white-boards, instant surveys, and text chat.

The e-meeting technology is easily deployable and easy to learn and use. It makes use of readily available infrastructure such as an Internet connection and basic audio-visual equipment like microphones and a projector. It therefore makes it possible to increase the number of inter-parliamentary or institutional meetings but also have presentations from experts while drastically reducing the cost of such meetings, thus allowing a long-term sustainability of collaboration and exchanges.

It is to be underlined that such e-meeting technology will be used by the Project staff to provide remote technical support to parliaments.

The Project will support Parliaments to leverage e-meeting technology to facilitate efficient information sharing. It will create an e-meeting portal through which members of different Parliaments can arrange for and conduct interactive meetings online. The portal will serve as a central point through which parliamentarians can interact and meet each other to exchange information and experiences.

Computer Assisted Translation - In the context of the APKN document translations in different languages will be critical as it represents a major management issue for the Pan African Parliament and its membership both in terms of costs and quality and consistency of translations. To this end, the Project will acquire a Computer Assisted Translation and Terminology Management software suite. The server based system is a full-featured integrated translation environment with translation, project management and workflow features that should dramatically shorten and facilitate the translation, reduce cost and increase quality and uniformity in the translations.

Computer Assisted Translation is as good as the translation memories it uses. The European Parliaments has agreed to make available for free their translation memories, provide technical guidance in the set up of the system and to support the training of staff of PAP translation services.

The Project will support the attendance of translators from national parliaments to the EP training initiative and the creation of Translation Memories in Swahili and Arabic, in collaboration with concerned national parliaments.

Webcasting – The Project will evaluate media (audio/video) streaming application and/or services for making available proceedings/seminars, ect. live and on demand with the aim to provide both parliaments and the Project with the opportunity to exploit the great potential of dissemination of media streaming technologies.

Activity 2.4 Support training and capacity building activities to promote the adoption of AKOMA NTOSO, Legislative Drafting Guidelines and Bungeni
2.4.1 Support capacity building and training activities related to XML families of standards and markup of parliamentary and legislative documents using AKOMA NTOSO framework,
2.4.2 Support the dissemination, adoption and capacity building activities related to Legislative Drafting Guidelines and mark up of legal documents in parliaments, government drafting bodies and judiciaries.
2.4.3 Support capacity building and training activities related to Bungeni and Bungeni related technologies.

 

For Bungeni, the Project will adopt a ‘train the trainer’ approach, giving African Parliaments and their local partners the opportunity to acquire domain knowledge of the parliamentary information system. Training will cover maintenance issues, backup, restore and troubleshooting, managing and configuring the system, installing the system and using the system training modules. Screen-casts with voice-over will also developed to provide a walk-through experience of Bungeni and practical lesson on how to deal with updating and maintenance issues. Online course will be developed to deal with skills and technologies used in Bungeni, but also to extend it to a wider usage in the context of IT skills of ICT service of a parliament.

n order to support all stakeholders to exploit the great potential of ICTs in the legal domain, the Project will develop courses on using XML and markup tools to create documents using the AKOMA NTOSO standard. This will be a first step towards a standard methodology for disseminating information and granting access legal and parliamentary documents without the barriers of time or space. The courses will target not only parliamentary staff but all relevant public administration bodies that are involved in the management of legislations.

The “Legislative Drafting Guidelines for Africa”, developed by “Strengthening Parliaments' Information Systems in Africa” under the aegis of PAP, represents a unique opportunity to support the harmonisation effort of legislation and common services in Africa. The Project will promote the dissemination, adoption and capacity building activities related to Legislative Drafting Guidelines and mark up of legal documents in parliaments, government drafting bodies and judiciaries.