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Attending #TOCS2014 – A dream come true

TOCS2014 - Group PictureTechnical Online Communicators, IT professionals of different CGIAR centers and its partners organizations along with external experts on different web related matters participated in a five day workshop from the 15th to the 19th of September, 2014 at Bioversity International´s centre in Maccarese, Italy. Technical Online Communicators (TOCs) is a community of practice comprising webmasters, web developers and social media coordinators for all CGIAR entities, partner organizations and other non-profit institutions where people actively participate in online and face-to-face discussions to address common technical challenges.

Connecting online communicators‘ challenges & ideas

In the leading age of technology, it’s crucial to be updated; hence addressing challenges should be in the forefront of any institution communication´s strategy. This is why the figure of web managers and web masters is so significant when engaging users, as they are professionals who design the strategy to bring research contents, publications and useful data to the public.

TOCs 2014 was not only a workshop but also a new dynamic to connect, support and work together in the technical aspects of online communicators through a discussion forum, a wiki repository and webinars. From designing to content generation, from user engagement to web statistics, from web management to security there are pitfalls that need to be addressed.

TOCs community was created in 2013 to solve those common challenges. While TOCs 2013 basically focused on connecting people and building the community, TOCs 2014 main scope was to deepen in the concrete decisions that had been made one year before. TOCS2014 provided space for communicators to discuss about what technical aspects they are lacking behind and help them to build a custom work plan to implement it.

The workshop covered a wide range of topics through different interactive sessions.

  • Website revamps, XML-based site migration
  • Web security, Search Engine Optimization, WordPress integration with existing systems, MySQL performance tuning,  User Centric Design
  • Mobile web design,  Mobile apps, tools for content engagement, HTML5/CCS3, Webcasting: Art or Science
  • Standard measuring and reporting, Web interoperability, Basic modules standardization
  • Productivity Tools, Task management and bug tracking, multisite setup

Co-leading ‘Search Engine Optimization’ session with Macaroni Bros

I was benefitted with a waived registration fee from CGIAR to two YPARD members to attend the workshop. Besides, GFAR secretariat sponsored my travel flight to take part in TOCs 2014.  

Being engaged with YPARD for more than two years has given me the chance to work voluntarily as Web4Knowledge Intern at the Global Coordination Unit (GCU) for 7 months. Thanks to the knowledge acquired during his traineeship, I started AgriYouthNepal network with the aim of promoting youth´s role and ICT for the agricultural development in Nepal.

Attending this workshop of ‘technical geeks’ has provided me with a better understanding of the online ecosystem under which different CRP’s work. Likewise, I have learned about the ways these generate and promote contents, as well as how they engage users on the website. Certainly, being part of TOCs community is also helping me in leading AgriYouthNepal and YPARD Nepal networks.

TOCs 2014 discussion provided me with a good understanding of many technical failures. Moreover it was a great opportunity for me to co-lead the session of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with Fabio Fidanza from Macaroni Bros. SEO basically deals with optimizing the website to increase the search engine visibility as well as the website´s traffic.

Thanks to CGIAR, Peter, GFAR & YPARD!

I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards CGIAR ConsortiumGFAR secretariatPeter Casier and YPARD GCU for supporting youth to showcase, strengthen their skills and to undertake youth-led projects from such capacity building programs.

It was a big achievement for me to travel to Rome, know a different culture, taste different foods and attend an international workshop with highly technical professionals from different CRP’s and partner organizations. This second edition of TOCs has given me a challenge and responsibility to put those lessons learned into practice. I look forward to contributing from my side being on YPARD and other platforms for strengthening youth´s voice using ICT for agriculture development.

YPARD Nepal recently launched Family Farming Photo Contest to raise family farmers´ profile and support IYFF14 Campaign in Nepal. Being an event coordinator, I am responsible for the website´s design, people engagement and the contest promotion to get wider participation. Besides promoting the photo contest, we decided to build a voting system through the website which was pretty complex.

When I attended this year´s TOCs meeting, I got guidelines on organizing different online contests with better user engagement. Now the voting for YPARD Nepal Family Farming contest will open on the 25th of November and the basic requisites for voting are ready!

Photo credit: TOS2014 Group ohoto.