The CARTA program is now in its third 5-year phase dubbed CARTA 2025. This phase has four strategic objectives, among them supporting the creation of research-supportive environments in African partner institutions. To this end, CARTA is working towards mainstreaming its interventions at partner institutions. These interventions have been used within the Consortium to strengthen the research, and research capacities of CARTA fellows, graduates, supervisors, and faculty and administration staff. They comprise of the Joint Advanced Seminars (JASes), Supervisors’ Workshop (SW), Graduate Workshop (GW) and the Academic, Professional and Administrative Staff (APAS) Seminar (previously Faculty and Administrative Staff – FAS).
One key activity towards mainstreaming CARTA interventions at partner institutions has been the review of the related curricula and the development of related Training of Trainers (ToT) programs. Through the ToT workshops, CARTA seeks to strengthen the facilitation capacity of partner institutions to be able to independently carry out the interventions.
The ToT development workshop process follows a series of engagements with the teams, including the review of the course outline that kicked off in mid-2021. Owing to the ongoing pandemic, the review of the courses and the development of the ToT programs had taken a virtual approach. For the course review – largely virtual, the teams participated in an inception meeting, course revisions and team correspondences, review meetings, external reviews by the Secretariat and other CARTA members, and consultations with an eLearning/curriculum expert.
CARTA convened a face-to-face ToT development workshop in Nairobi (Kenya) between May 9-12, 2022. The workshop brought together teams of coordinators, facilitators and graduates of the JASes, SW, GW and APAS, supported by the CARTA Directors, Secretariat and consultants, to finalize ToT materials and develop annotated ToT programs for JASes, SW, GW and APAS. During this process, the workshop enhanced the participants’ understanding of the CARTA pedagogy and the rationale behind the interventions; including the sharing of best practices in the development and facilitation of ToT Workshop; and provided the participants with opportunities to determine the most appropriate modes of delivery for the various interventions and ToT programs.
The workshop, being the first face-to-face event after the long duration of virtual meetings and events that were occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, also enabled the teams to connect. It was an intensive yet interactive four-day workshop, and participants had a lot of positive feedback on the whole process. One participant said that, “it has been a very rewarding and rich experience,” while another reported that, “we realized that some of our practical sessions were mis-titled and changed them. We also developed a new ToT session and incorporated it into the new ToT curriculum.”
The final reviewed course, the ToT programs and a number of learning resources are being uploaded on the CARTA website. CARTA intends to complete the curriculum review and ToT development process by the end of August 2022.
The CARTA course review and the development of the ToT workshop course is funded by the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, as part of efforts to promote sustainability of CARTA interventions through strengthening the capacity of institutional-based facilitators to independently carry out the CARTA interventions in their respective institutions.