IDAMS News - Issue No 18 February 1998
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     1st Regional Meeting of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS distributors in Africa
     Consultation of the IDAMS International Technical Advisory Group
     UNESCO International Training Seminar in 1997
     UNESCO International Training Seminar in 1998

    1st Regional Meeting of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS distributors in Africa
 
The 1st Regional Meeting of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS distributors in Africa took place from 15 through 19 December 1997 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It was organized and hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), with the financial support of CII/INF. The meeting was attended by 30 participants from 13 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe) and from international/regional organizations (African Regional Organization for Standardization, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Institut du Sahel, International Livestock Research Institute, and ECA).

The discussions centered on the following main topics:

  • a report from UNESCO on the latest developments of CDS/ISIS and IDAMS;
  • country reports on the level of utilization of the two packages and distribution policies adopted;
  • a question and answer session on problems encountered in distributing and/or using the packages;
  • a report from UNESCO on the planned future developments of the two packages.

The urgent and very felt need for training in both CDS/ISIS and IDAMS, and particularly the training of trainers, was expressed by all speakers. It was underlined that additional financial resources have to be identified for such training actions. The increasing role of Internet has been recognized, but it was agreed that old ways of ISIS and IDAMS distribution should not be abandoned. In order to make IDAMS more widely known and used in Africa, competent institutions should be selected in those countries where there is no IDAMS distributor yet. Need for the Windows version of IDAMS was emphasized.

Two 2-day training seminars (one on CDS/ISIS and one on IDAMS) were conducted. The CDS/ISIS seminar, conducted by Mr. G. Del Bigio, focused on the Windows version of the software, insisting particularly on the new features. The IDAMS seminar, conducted by Mr. P. Hunya, was a concise presentation of the main functional features, of the ISIS-IDAMS interface, and of interfacing IDAMS with other packages in Windows. Participants carried out hands-on exercises under the guidance of the instructors, in well equipped training rooms.

On the last day, participants discussed and approved recommendations concerning software development, distribution, training and application policy for UNESCO and UNECA, as well as for distributors.

 

 
    Consultation of the IDAMS International Technical Advisory Group
 
The 10th Consultation of the IDAMS International Technical Advisory Group (ITAG) took place at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, from 22 through 25 September 1997. Members of the ITAG reviewed the status of the IDAMS Programme and noted with great pleasure the translation of IDAMS 4.0 into French and Spanish as well as the continuing design and development of the IDAMS/WINDOWS pre-release. They noted with appreciation the extremely important contribution of ALECSO to disseminating IDAMS.

Recommendations (concerning IDAMS activities in 1997-1998) were also elaborated.

  • Dissemination of IDAMS should be pursued by the UNESCO Secretariat, by an activated, re-organized and extended network of distributors, and using Internet facilities. Regional meetings of IDAMS and ISIS distributors are considered very important, and UNESCO should make an effort to organize them. To reach all potential users, special emphasis should be placed on a publicity campaign (leaflet, newsletters, presentations). The publication of IDAMS News should continue. Setting up an Internet discussion group at UNESCO should be considered.
  • Training in the use of IDAMS should be reinforced by connecting it to the teaching of statistical research methodology. This type of training should start by identifying and mobilizing competent partners, for the benefit of Africa in particular. Within available capacities, real life applications should be identified from which case studies could be derived. It should be publicized that UNESCO can help national and international institutions in organizing training activities (e.g. by identifying competent teachers, providing teaching materials, etc.). Besides maintaining classical training, the use of information highway facilities should continue, particularly by developing computerized training material.
  • As to the software and its documentation, Release 4.0 should continue to be distributed. Distribution of the French and Spanish versions should start. The preparation of the Windows version of IDAMS should continue, including an outline of the modernized User Manual.

 

 
    UNESCO International Training Seminar in 1997
 
The International Training Seminar: Introduction to IDAMS took place from 24 through 28 November 1997 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, gathering 8 participants from 6 countries and 4 participants from the International Labour Organisation. As it is a rule in IDAMS training seminars, there was no registration fee. All other costs (travel, board, lodging) were at the charge of designating institutions with the exception of four participants from African countries who received small grants from UNESCO to cover their board and lodging expenses. The extended course (five days instead of three) provided better conditions for individual and group-wise consultations on national and international projects.

 

 
    UNESCO International Training Seminar in 1998
 
The basic part of the International Training Seminar: Introduction to IDAMS will take place from Monday 23 through Wednesday 25 November 1998 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. Its purpose is to introduce the latest version of the IDAMS software package. Participants who would like to extend their knowledge and/or perform more exercises could continue individual work on 26 and 27 November. The IDAMS development staff and computer rooms will remain at their disposal during this period.

The overall structure of IDAMS, the editors, graphical facilities and other utilities offered by the package will be presented, and also the interface with micro CDS/ISIS. The Seminar is not meant to train participants in statistical techniques. The training sessions will comprise two main components: lectures (oral presentations) and exercises during which participants will be guided and assisted in their work.. English will be the main language of this Seminar although explanations in French can also be provided. Training material will be available in both English and French.

 
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